Startle Easy

By nature, I tend to be a person whose ease being startled can often result in comical moments of intense clumsiness. So it was today, as I felt more or less like I was sleepwalking a bit the entire day. Apparently, a lot of other people felt the same way, and it made for an interesting sort of experience where no one I was dealing with appeared really sharp and on top of their game. This is an uncomfortable way to be, but sometimes one has to trudge along despite not feeling one’s best, even if one does not know exactly why one is struggling to such an extent, especially seeing as I had more sleep than usual. Rather than try to rack my brain for reasons why I should feel a bit off today, I simply decided to do the best I could to keep the day and its sluggishness from affecting me too much. If that might seem like too much to ask of oneself, it was at least possible enough to achieve to keep myself out of substantial trouble, even given the oddness of the day as a whole.

One of the downsides of having a smartphone and being somewhat obsessive about the stats of one’s website is the fact that WordPress has an app that allows one to see throughout the day a wide variety of metrics involving one’s blog. For a long time, looking at the data about my own blog has been the source of both considerable amusement as well as occasional worry [1]. This morning, as I rubbed my eyes open and fumbled around for my glasses, I decided to see what kind of blog entries had been viewed most overnight, and to my surprise and concern, I found that a lot of Malaysians had apparently been sharing and viewing a blog entry of mine about politics on Facebook [2]. Having never been to Malaysia, nor having any great personal understanding of Malaysian politics, except for the fact that it appears complicated by various princely states, and somewhat corrupt in nature like many of its neighbors, it struck me as at least a bit worrisome that a political blog of mine would be suddenly popular in Southeast Asia. Perhaps memories of my experience in Thailand come a bit easily to my easily startled mind, after all.

One of my coworkers, who works several jobs, has an unsurprising love of energy drinks. For myself, I have only once partaken of an energy drink, and it was on a Friday shortly after noon at work. Although the particular energy drink I had tasted fine, because it was a tasty green apple flavor, its result was not pleasant. For the next ten to twelve hours or so I had heart palpitations and was extremely jittery, even more so than usual. Considering that at the time it was necessary for me to drive from Hillsboro through downtown Portland to the east side of the city through rush hour traffic, being jittery with a racing heart was unacceptable. Being unable to settle down or breathe normally until after collapsing asleep abruptly after midnight on the Sabbath was also unacceptable. Suffice it to say that the experience convinced me that energy drinks were a very bad chemical rush to indulge in, and given my general lack of interest in intoxicating beverages stronger than sweet tea, it has not been hard for me to avoid curiosity in trying energy drinks after that painful experience. Yet I see many people who depend on such drinks in order to charge up their batteries, literally and figuratively speaking. Is it better to be chemically hopped up, or simply to admit that one is tired, to make the best of it, and to try to sleep nicely when one is able to do so.

A great deal of the purposefully ordinary nature of much of my life relates to controlling my tendency to feel overly anxious and startled. I regularly eat the same foods, go to the same places (as far away as trouble as I can manage), read books, listen to music, and so on. I have never been able to help the fact that my life has contained an alarmingly large amount of dramatic and frankly traumatic experiences, nor that I have an overactive imagination that seems to be most obvious during my sleep. Yet I can help, at least to some extent, how much I put myself into situations that make my heartbeat rush or make my adrenalin flow. I chose to accept those risks and dangers I cannot change because of circumstances or my own compulsions to write and talk, and to minimize whatever tendencies I have to put myself deliberately in harm’s way. And so I live a life that combines a certain amount of pattern and repetition that others find a bit boring with occasional adventure that sometimes invites envy from others. When one startles as easily as I do, finding lighthearted and innocent fun that doesn’t further complicate one’s life can be far more of a challenge than it ought to be. We can only work with the materials we are given, though, and work with our master potter in forming them into a better shape than we found them.

[1] See, for example:

[2] A

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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2 Responses to Startle Easy

  1. Pingback: The Shock Of The Lightning | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Reading People | Edge Induced Cohesion

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