What is your immediate reaction when someone says to you…
“You might get mad, BUT…“
Yeah. I thought so.
Me too. Even with all of the experience I have had in my adventurous life, I still “freak” when a conversations launches with “you might get mad“.
When the conversation launches with “you might get mad” you start that lovely experience of the stress response. Your heart beats a just a little faster, your hands sweat, your breathing tanks than starts to get faster and shallower and faster and shallower, beads of sweat dance on your forehead and the room starts to slightly tilt. Oh, and your mind becomes a rapidly moving slide projector of all of the “fit hits the shan” moments you and Hollywood have ever dreamed-up then flied under a really bad day.
This happened to me the other day. That “you might get mad” opener of a conversation. Just after I had awoken from my afternoon slumber – the one’s I take after and before an overnight shift at a hospital.
My wife greeted me with “you might get mad“ as I stood drip-drying post a nice shower. My brain and mind had yet to fully reboot so I stood there, towel in hand, butt-naked and pondered. Then my mind started to race and fill-in the blanks because my wife, like all people who start a conversation with the phrase “you may get mad but…“was speaking way to slowly for my now rapidly moving brain that was attempting to anticipate what in the hell is wrong.
As it turns out, she backed our SVU out of the garage and hit the other car sitting on the drive way. “It’s just a scrape.” Pause. “For both cars though.”
Breath. I am reminding myself. Breath. I started to head to the garage then remembered I was naked, it was cold, my 18 year old son may be lurking around as it is that magical time known as dinner then I stopped. Breath. I was oddly silent. My wife repeated. “It’s only a couple of scrapes.”
Then quickly and like a ton of bricks it hit me, wow, now all four of my cars will have insurance claims on them in a period of a little over 7 months. Wow. Hit the jackpot. Bonus for me. And I will need to sell a kidney to pay for the premiums.
“I don’t care. You just deal with the repair shop and the insurance company,” was my initial response. I started to towel dry and grabbed my rob. “I am not dealing with either of those two parties again. My wife stood silent. I left the bathroom and started to pet one of my two cats that spends 80-90% of their life sleeping on the bed. “Now that’s a life,” I thought. Maybe not. “They don’t get to go to hockey games,” followed the life thought,.
In some ways, I was grateful that all the “you might get mad” was only about a small driveway accident and not some major issue – AGAIN. And I have had those. Like the Monday morning my daughter called and was frantic. Overwhelmed and out of breath she informed me that her car was stolen. Or the Tuesday morning when my distraught and stoic son called and stated that his truck’s steering gave-out and pulled him into a parked car.
Those were recent events. Couple of years ago a large oak tree decided to come in from the cold and entered the dining room via the roof of which I was alerted to by blood curdling screams of my wife and daughter sitting in the adjacent living room. That was a night. Plenty of WTF stress responses that evening.
All things considered, and after some time to absorb the narrative POST “you might get mad” it was not really that big of a deal. And I guess, in writing this post, I also learned that “you might get mad” did proceed the really big tragedies of the past couple of months so I think that means that when my wife leads with “you might get mad” it is not going to be that bad after all.