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" … no easy mark for all the voices that shriek through the dark."

Some seem to exude confidence. I inhabit the other end of that scale. I exude dread. I don't envision worst possible scenarios because I'm confused by the concept of worst, but I only very rarely anticipate anything turning out right. Any impending event can send my imagination spiraling into likely complications. I tend as a result to enter well-prepared for what only very rarely ever occurs, and no amount of contrary positive experience has (yet) drained me of my preternatural dreadiness. Any fresh challenge, every freaking aspiration sends me crouching into the experience. My current refurbishing project serves as a fine case in point. I fuss the finer points, sure, and also natter over the larger ones, too. My head grumbles like a zoo just before feeding time.

Am I a man of little faith?
My experience so far has done little to reinforce my persistent notion that I'll very likely mess up this next bit, too, though I probably didn't even come close to screwing up that last bit or most of the ones before. The wolves, while perhaps slavering just outside each door, almost never cross the threshold to threaten me within. I could be convinced that I hold some serious character flaw, though I'm considering that my persistent dreads might constitute some unlikely semblance of a superpower, providing a sort of safety, however sorry it might usually seem. I'm the guy who remembered to pack the umbrella. I'm also the paranoid who thought to buy twice as much caulk as the job seemed to require until, in the middle of a frantic caulk job, we didn't have had to run out to buy more to finish the job. When The Muse set her alarm for three so she could make the airport on time, I'm the one who just magically happened to awaken at two thirty so I'm up and out from under her final packing frenzy. I'm also the annoying one who always suggests we might be wise to leave a few minutes earlier than planned, just in case.

The trick to living with dread seems to be to more fully acknowledge its dire warnings, but to usually go ahead and move forward anyway. The downside could visit any of us at any time. It needn't squelch any adventure, though. I might dread every forward move, but imagine how courageous I must feel when I step right into those frays anyway. Yesterday, though I am a fully self-acknowledged crappy caulker, I stepped right in and started smearing that crap all over my freshly scraped siding boards. I tried to keep the worst of it off the actual board surfaces, and largely succeeded. Once that first top coat covered the clear evidence of my abiding incompetence, not even I could tell that the Caulker From Hell had passed through the job.

And so it's been on this project, very like with every project before. I ninnied away from sitting up on the very tippy top of the gently swaying scaffolding before climbing up there anyway. I could not estimate how much time my work might take to get anywhere close to concluded, but I deluded myself just long enough to put my head down and begin, anyway. Every bleeding day started with me running scary scenarios through my head and almost every one ended with me belatedly accepting that I'd apparently had nothing terribly threatening to actually dread. I dread, anyway. Today, I face another in a long line of dread-worthy decisions. I have already choreographed my moves six ways to Sunday in my chattering head and I still cannot quite make my calculus work, but I'll be up there chiseling away, anyway. If worst comes to worst, I figure it will come as no great surprise. Though the worst will much more likely hold out until another day to come my way, if it does charge through my door, it will find me cowering, no easy mark for all the voices that shriek through the dark.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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