I have spent an inordinate amount of time in my life thinking and often worrying about things other people would never give a second, possibly even first thought.
I saw an overthinking meme this week that truly describes the kind of things occupying my mind. It said, “What is the exact right amount of eye contact so that someone knows I am listening but not trying to steal their soul?”
This overthinking has increased during COVID isolation with my extra down time. If you aren’t scared yet, here is a peek behind the curtain for some more of my overthinking.
Many of my thoughts center around family members and my dog, where one thought rabbit trails into many more. For instance, recently an entertainment program announced the birth of a celebrity’s son, that he and his wife named Wood.
Within moments, I am thinking, “Should we have named my daughter something different?” My husband and I have both been educators, which significantly narrows the name pool from which to choose. It only takes one ill-behaved Dustin or an eye-rolling Ashley to mark them off the list.
I check the popular baby names list, half hoping my daughter’s name appears, to prove I have made a good choice, and half hoping it does not, so that it retains its unusual quality. Of course my daughter would prefer another name, as I would of at her age. And before I know it, I am thinking about what other names I could have had.
Would I have made a good Phyllis? Could I have pulled off Victoria or Vivian? I know deep down I have not been that good a Catherine, but a passable Cathy.
Still later, I am wondering how other people chose names for their children, and shamefully, thinking of better ones for them. Just this Saturday at the neighborhood pool, I watched Darrin splash his sister. He seems more like a Devin to me.
That night as I head to bed, I call my dog into the room. I used one of several cutesy nicknames we have for him. When he didn’t come, I called him by his full name, including his middle name. “Do other people give their dogs middle names?” I thought. Clearly I didn’t sleep for a while as I mulled that over.
Some of my overthinking is about my house. My siblings and my mom can quickly visualize a room and how the furniture can perfectly fit into it. Apparently, that gene skipped me, and I find myself asking, “Will that couch fit there?”
I truly wish I had a dollar for each time my husband has come home with me in the middle of pushing a giant hutch or table into a space that is about 6 inches too short for it. Measuring tapes are for the weak. I wonder if I can angle it a little, I think, as he heads into another room to not overthink anything at all.
This past fall, I had a moment where I became obsessed with sectionals, which I thought would allow me to move pieces in so many ways, ignoring the fact that I cannot figure out anything for the current five pieces I have, much less those seven pieces including a giant ottoman.
Other household musings have included “What is that smell?” and “If I pass away tomorrow, will people make fun of my messy garage?”
My most recent overthinking about my house has to do with ceiling fans. Some of you are probably thinking that I am worried about how to clean them. I know how to clean them; not saying I do it often enough, but I know how.
Actually, I am constantly wondering if the fans are rotating the right way. I read that they should rotate counter clockwise in one season and clockwise in another. But I can never remember the rotation for that particular season, as my Google search history would for sure confirm, with multiple hits on the topic.
I find it again and am reminded that in the summer, I should have my fans rotating counterclockwise to push cool air down to the floor. I check them all, and I am good. But then I begin to wonder if there is a certain date by which I should change the rotation.
Should I just make an annual ritual of switching the fans as I put away my white pants so as not to wear them after Labor Day? And pray tell I don’t go to Home Depot after this search, as I may stand for several minutes making sure they have all theirs set to correctly rotate.
Some of my overthinking happens around situations in which I will never find myself and highly unlikely scenarios. What would I say if stopped by a national news crew and asked what I think about our current political climate?
What if Publishers Clearinghouse shows up at my door and the dog runs out when I open the door and I have to chase him? Will they wait to award me my money?
What if my college calls and wants to honor me as alumnus of the year, and then realize they have called the wrong gal (they were probably looking for a Vivian…)? Would I take the disappointment well?
Would I rather sing a duet with Chris Stapleton or James Taylor? Would they stick me with harmony or graciously offer the melody?
Are the towels in my car trunk clean enough if I have to help a passing motorist give birth? When the baby comes, should I suggest a baby name we didn’t use so I have a second chance?
I overthink a great deal about things passing me by, and that some of my pop culture references have kind of lost their pop. Case in point: A young friend was talking about her nosy neighbor. She described her watching them out the window, always appearing on her deck when they are in the back yard, and even commenting on how many grocery bags they carried into their house.
“Wow! She sounds like a regular Gladys Kravitz,” I said and laughed. Nothing. My young friend had nothing. Not even from beloved Bewitched reruns.
Some of the thoughts are more in the moment, like, “Should I put on pants for the Zoom meeting? “ or “How do seedless watermelons grow if you can never plant a seed for one?” (and by the way, if you know this answer, I am interested).
My latest in the moment overthinking happened after reading a Facebook quiz. It listed about ten smells and said, “Which is your favorite?” Am I supposed to have a favorite smell?
That sounds like something they would have asked a couple on the Newlywed Game, perhaps another pop culture reference without pop. “What is your husband’s favorite smell?” and I answer barbecue, when in reality it was my perfume. Bob Eubanks rolls his eyes.
One a side note, I used to worry about how my husband and I would do on the Newlywed Game, but this many years in, there is so little we don’t know about one another. So little.
One friend suggested homemade apple pie as her favorite smell. Another said a baby after a bath. Still another said fresh cut grass, and a dear sorority sister said wet cement. Further down the list, someone enthusiastically championed bacon. Now we’re talking.
Was I wrong not to have a favorite smell? I asked my daughter, my husband, a co-worker, a large group in a Zoom meeting. They all had their own opinions, ranging from gas (ewww) to latex paint (I won’t be going to Girl’s Night with this friend anymore), to suntan oil from the 70’s, when the Coppertone line ruled.
Before the suspense kills you, I have decided not to choose between my final two, which are freshly baked molasses cookies and the air right before a rainstorm. I want to overthink it a little more.