I prefer the quiet to the raucous. The quiet gives me the illusion of control and security. When everything is still, I feel like I have a handle on my environment…and I will be instantly aware of any changes. That I spook very easily probably has a bit to do with this preference.
The thing is, I can get into my head very easily; I can get in and shut out everything else. It makes me rather efficient at work because concentration is never a problem, but I have lost count how many times I have hissed swear words when a coworker sneaks up on me. I hate that moment when my heart feels like a ricocheting rubber ball inside my chest.
Our treadmill faces the partial windows in the basement instead of the stairs. Have you ever run on a treadmill? Dude, it’s loud…but it’s rhythmic and becomes a sort of white noise to me; I stop registering the sound. The noise may not irritate me, but it definitely impairs one of my senses when I’ve already compromised another. Suddenly, I can neither see nor hear someone’s approach.
For this reason, I don’t like anyone to be in the basement while I am running. This should be easy enough to achieve as the basement doesn’t see a whole lot of traffic. However, I seem to be interrupted regularly. My response to this is to stop the treadmill, step off the belt, and wait until the intruder leaves. My intruder—and Sophie doesn’t count—seems to find reasons to come down during one of my runs.
If I was looking at this situation from the outside, I would find this kind of charming. He likes to spend time with me, he likes talking with me. Maybe he even likes watching my…erm…assets while I run. But the point is that I’m not looking at this from the outside. I’m looking at this from the perspective of the person who loses years off her life every time he sneaks up on her.
One thing I’ve learned about Nick is that I should never tell him how to avoid irritating me. “Why not?” you ask. Well, that’s a valid question. It would only make sense to let him know these things up front so that he knows how to stop my inner fire monster from making an appearance. Another thing I’ve learned about Nick is that he doesn’t make sense: he loves irritating people, particularly when you tell him specific behaviors to avoid.
He sat on the stairs and talked to me tonight while I ran. My responses were clipped, urging him to scram. He eventually rose, acting affronted and put out—predictable. I would have gloried in my success, but I was busy trying to put out my blazing breath.