Buttons of insanity

By Jennifer Dryden (c) March 2010

We all have buttons. Not like the remote control buttons you push to adjust the volume as you sit hunched over on your futon. I’m talking about the internal buttons. In our minds, there are buttons. Many buttons that when pushed, unleash a sudden fury. The buttons that are blamed for our moments of insanity. They’re not physically perched on our skin but they might as well be. People who know us well, know which buttons to push and from time to time will push them – some with all knowing, some out of pure innocence.

Today, a very touchy button was pushed. I was talking with my number one fan on the phone after finding out my car battery had died and dealing with the AAA guy who only told me that they were out of my car’s type of battery. The gist of the conversation went like this:

“Now that I have you on the phone…” my mom transitioned to the next part of our already ten-minute conversation. This is almost as bad as the “We need to talk…” intro in a bad romance movie.

“OK…” I answer back, hesitant on our next topic. The conversation went on to tell me about something she thought I needed to do “today.” I was aware of the timeliness to this matter and had happily scheduled it during the upcoming spring break (that can’t get here fast enough). I continued to listen when all of a sudden my mom approached the all-too-tempting button by repeating herself.

“Why don’t you just get it done today?” she said in her business-like mom tone. My mom’s usually bubbly and chipper, but this was the authoritative mom voice.

I searched around for a bit of sanity to stand on as the button met the platform it stood on. The red florescent warning sign flashed in a strobe in my head. Without a second thought, my head exploded all over my MacBook Pro, my bed, and the phone that was being held up to my ear. My eyes bulged nearly out of my head as I held my breath. There was no control over the words that would spill from my pursed lips in the next minute. Let’s just quote The OC’s character Summer and call this a “raged blackout.”

I remember saying, “Do you know what my to-do list looks like for today?” and “I had this scheduled during spring break, not today.” and “I have to do laundry; I have to get my car fixed; I have to start and finish my digital fiction assignment; I have to read 30 pages in Visual Communication; I have to transcribe a recording!”

I said all of these things without breathing a breath. Correction, I didn’t say them, I yelled them. I yelled the above paragraph as well as other hardly understandable mumbled gibberish into the little hole on my BlackBerry at the one person who loves me the most. Although I still don’t agree that this was approached the right way because my mom is all too aware of my buttons that keep my sanity within my body. But what other choice did she have? She’s human; she has opinions and to top it off, she’s my mom. She has hovering, pushing, and annoying rights on me.

The button in question is very touchy and I’ll tell you why. I am probably one of the biggest planners you’ll meet. I’m an organizer; I’m a perfectionist on certain things, including my daily schedule. I am notorious for getting things done in a timely manner; I’m reliable and good on my word. When people doubt I can get something done, especially in a timely manner, I kind of lose my mind. Thus, this button is cemented in my mind. I don’t think it’s a bad button to have. I just need to learn to breathe through the brain contractions when someone tests it. So beware, people of the world, because this is one of my buttons.

(And yes, I did apologize.)


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