Insanity isn’t a “one shock and you’re crazy” phenomenon. Oh yes films might suggest that you are only one tragic event away from becoming a vengeful murderer; say the death of a family member, best friend, close partner on the local police force or perhaps even the loss of your dog is enough to tip you over the edge, turning you from a normal human being to a badass killing machine BUT in reality it is much less exciting and violent than that. True it could always happen that the hit and run which wiped out Mr Fuzzles sends you into rampage mode, however it is more likely that insanity has slowly built up and built up inside you until you find yourself running down the street naked throwing coat hangers at people while laughing like a baboon.
How do I know about this? What judges me to be an expert on insanity? Have I got a degree? Have I dedicated my life to studying it?
Well no, not quite. But I do have personal experience on the ladder of going mad. Ie, I’m going a little bit crazier every day. No, I’ve not left my coat hangers scattered across the neighbourhood. Not yet anyway. I can’t be far off though. It’s only a matter of time before I reach that stage. Come, gather round and I’ll tell you all about it.
No don’t leave, come back! We have biscuits!
It Starts With Something Small
I think the best example I can give towards my gradual ascent to insanity is the events of today. The main task for me to complete was going to the post office with a second parcel for Vanna. This would mean I’d have to get the bus into Durham and because today was the deadline for gifts to the US, it was imperative that I did it. And because I stayed up too late I couldn’t be bothered to get up until early afternoon. Smart move, right?
Eventually though I did get ready. My plan was to get the half past bus, leaving me with ten minutes to get to the stop. Plenty of time, I thought, heading towards the door.
Then I heard something. The tinkle of glass shattering. It turns out a little glass bauble on the Christmas tree had smashed. Now I was in a dilemma. Do I clean it up before I go, or do I wait until I’ve back and get the more important task sorted out first? I really need to leave the house if I’m going to catch the bus…so I decide to clean it up later. I know, I know, but what can I say? I wanted to catch that bus!
Anyway, although I decided to leave it until I returned, there was still some hesitation. This 30 seconds of indecision was step one.
Look Stupid Or Hope For The Best?
Knowing that I would be pushing it for time, I decided to break into a slight jog to ensure I got to the stop in time. But as soon as I’d started I saw somebody in front of me. And I don’t like being observed while I’m in any form of movement that isn’t walking. So I slowed back down and sped walked onwards, even when I’d passed the person.
This decision…was step two.
The First Sign Of Frustration
The inevitable happened. Despite being a minute earlier than the ETA for the bus, it sped past me when I was about to cross the road. And typically there was nobody waiting at the bus stop to flag it down. I missed it by seconds. Pull the bus back by ten seconds and I would have got it easily. That was how close I was. Step one and step two cost me.
But hey, there is another bus in ten minutes (yes I could have cleaned up and went for that with time to spare but shut up). What is the worst that could happen?
The Worst Happens
The bus stop, so gloriously empty when I needed there to be someone, then filled up when I didn’t want it to be. People standing behind me, people standing awkwardly next to me and then others spread around the area too. But hey, I thought, it won’t be too long before the bus arrives. I’ll just put my music in. Easy.
No, not easy because three songs later and the bus hadn’t arrived. Neither had the other bus that was supposed to turn up which I had hoped would whittle down the numbers. So I was getting more uncomfortable and impatient. As I said before, had I been a bit quicker earlier on then this whole situation would have been avoided.
Build Up Anger Continues To, Uh, Build
Finally the bus arrives and all of us get on it. Of course I was first there but why should that stop everyone from getting on first? No worries, I’ll stand up. I don’t need a seat.
Nearly There But It Doesn’t Get Any Better
Rush to the post office only to find a huge queue waiting to be served. Was the queue that long ten minutes earlier? Probably but because that can’t be proved I assume it was really short and missing my bus has meant I’m stuck at the back instead of getting seen straight away.
So I wait.
And the person in front of me smells nasty.
Can I Punch Something? Please?
Finally at the front of the queue. The guy takes my present but tells me how much it will cost. Instead of setting up the machine to take my money however, he chooses to put the necessary stamps on. Would it be easier to do both things at the same time? Of course. But no, I’ll stand here awkwardly while you do that. It’s fine. After all, it’s not like I’m in a rush. The bus will come every ten minutes and I don’t know the timetable so I can hardly get stressed. I’ll be fine…
No I won’t
Walking towards the stop and I see it, already there. Can’t get there in time but I’ll try to make it…oh no, it’s pulling away. Fantastic.
Step 7, and the first sign of hysteria as I almost laugh at the situation. Oh dear.
A False Dawn
Well at least the next bus was on time. Almost home now. Job done, I can relax.
Off the bus and I’m walking home. And it starts to rain. It isn’t fast rain but it’s cold and heavy. And as I turn the corner, I realize for the next 5 minutes I’m going to be walking directly into it. As a result I’m soaking wet by the time I get home.
And I can’t help but wonder, what if I’d got the first bus? Or what if I’d got that second bus? Both times I would have missed the worst of the rain. I’d be so close to home the rain wouldn’t affect me. I’d be thinking ‘Oh that was lucky, just missed it’ and would thus feel rather good about life. Who doesn’t when they’ve avoided something unpleasant?
But no, I don’t miss it. So I’m cold, wet and somewhat irritated (putting it kindly) at the world. Thank you step 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Thank you very much.
See how it built up from that little snowman ornament breaking? See how my frustration grew at each step? I kept it clean but trust me, I was in a foul mood. You might think this was a whole bunch of nothing but when you put all these separate incidents together you get…well a whole bunch of nothing that means nothing but still managed to wind me up to the point where I was this *puts fingers milimetres away* from laughing hysterically and spending the rest of the afternoon pretending I was a cat.
Like I said, insanity is a gradual process. Look after yourselves, it could be happening to you right now.
Hmm. I should hide the coat hangers.