There are some things I just don’t do.
I don’t drink after people. I don’t eat after people. Not even after my own children. Family germs are still germs.
I don’t do elevators. Small, metal boxes suspended on an invisible pulley system which may or may not have received a proper inspection? I don’t think so.
I don’t do traffic. There are way too many people on the roads who do not adhere to any sort of driving manual. Most of them also do not adhere to any sort of common courtesy that people of The South are famous for.
I don’t do malls, much to the chagrin of my sweet, teenaged daughters. You see, the last time I visited a mall, I had to walk behind people who were exhaling the same air that I was getting ready to inhale. Who knows where those lungs have been?
I don’t stand under heavy objects suspended in the air. In non-mall stores, as I browse through various candy aisles, I sneak a glance upward to make certain there are no steel beams directly above me. In church, I pick a pew not located under a chandelier.
I don’t drive under railroad trestles with fourteen thousand tons of train passing overhead.
I don’t do phones during thunderstorms. Lightning struck my grandparent’s house one time and nearly melted the phone to the wall. Just because my phone is cellular, therefore connected to invisible lines, doesn’t mean that I am totally in the clear. Why take unnecessary chances?
I don’t drive on any roads behind any vehicles that might or might not send something menacing flying my way. This includes tractors and farm trucks with gravel and mud stuck in tire treads, any kind of pull-behind trailer, camper, or bush hog, and semis pulling trailers fashioned after suspension bridges that are piled high with new cars. How do I know how strong the chains are that anchor those cars? And what if they are carrying so much weight that one of the tires blows to smithereens? And what if a piece of that tire slams into my windshield, and there is a tiny crack in my windshield glass that I am unaware of, and the fated fragment strikes the glass in just the right spot where the anti-shatter stuff is incredibly weak and the entire windshield shatters?
Now, you just might be thinking right about now that I am a person given to phobias. I choose to believe they are valid phobias. One day, I could swallow a germ. One day, a cable on an elevator might snap and send me plummeting to a really messy death at the bottom of some dirty shaft. One day, I could inhale something funky. One day, a heavy object could crash through the air, lightning could come through phone wires, and something terrible might fly my way.
I have seen or heard of these things happening. They are possible. Not very probable, perhaps, but there is a slim margin of chance …
And then something happened to help me to deal with these One Day issues. My family ran out of toilet paper.
It just so happened that two weeks before running out of toilet paper, my husband and I welcomed a brand new baby girl into this world. Sadie Elizabeth was born on March 11. Just two days later, we brought her home.
Inside our safe country home, I could control most of what happened. I had marked out an acceptable perimeter around the baby where people could gaze upon her loveliness from a distance. My precious husband vacuumed every area where the baby would spend the majority of her time. We had a ‘detox’ area where the older children could strip off all outside germ-infested trappings and enter into the hermetically sealed living space to visit the baby sister.
But then, the toilet paper outage challenged even the strongest of strongholds in my sanity. If we were ever to have a normal bathroom routine again, I would have to leave the safe area I could control. I would have to venture Out There.
Out There was dangerous and fraught with horrible things like germs, and people who don’t drive like I do, and humans who feel they must breathe to survive, and heavy objects which are suspended in the air – like the moon or something …
And then, my Aunt Tanya sent me this video of smallish children who are caught on hidden camera while they cleverly escape the confines of their cribs. In the background of the video, some sort of secret agent music accompanies the antics. My heart raced. My palms got sweaty. Even if I survived taking our two-week-old to the store to get toilet paper, I might have to add something else to my fearful list of things I don’t do. I would have to add “I don’t do sleep” because how could I ever expect to sleep AND keep the new small child safe? For her entire life?
I shared my fears with my aunt. She texted that the entire world is overpopulated, which is a testament to the resiliency of the human race.
Perhaps, if I try very hard, I can use some faith to fight my fears. Maybe, just maybe, a dose of faith can help me focus on a brighter future instead of all the negatives. My husband once told me that believing is holding on, but that faith is letting go.
I’m beginning to think that even small things, like a toilet paper quest, also can be letting go -- because I survived it. And Sadie survived it. And now, my whole family can use the bathroom again.
Just please, please, please … don’t let all the toilet paper be sold on the fifteenth floor of a mall with elevators and no stairs, only during rush hour traffic, where construction requires that a six billion ton crane is parked on the roof.