Part 1 of a 3-Part Series on My Anxiety

After I leave my house each morning I am haunted by a series of images of ways my cats could die. What if they play with my scissors and die? What if they eat my leftover fettucine alfredo and die? What if I left my hair straightener on and they die? What if my neighbor breaks in, sets them free, and they die? (If I ever give birth to a human child, I will never sleep again).

This anxiety is amplified whenever we go out of town (What if all their water evaporates? What if they think we’re never coming home and will themselves dead?) It was especially amplified when we found out the air conditioning guy was going to come fix our air conditioning over Labor Day weekend while we were in Texas.

I rattled off all my concerns to Doug as we drove to the airport. “What if the air conditioning guy leaves our door open and they run away and die? Or what if they get out into the hallway and when he sees them he isn’t sure if they’re ours so he calls our landlord to ask if they’re ours and they say no because we never told them we have cats so he leaves them there and they die?”

Doug shrugged. “Or maybe they’ll get locked into the air conditioning closet when he comes to fix it,” he offered nonchalantly.

“Oh my God,” I said, grabbing two fistfuls of my hair and pulling them tightly around my chin. “I never even thought of that!” I began banging my head against the car window. “Oh no… no no no! That’s exactly what’s going to happen! You know how much Ketos loves crawling into new spaces! Should I call them and say we don’t want our air conditioning fixed? SHOULD WE CANCEL TEXAS?”

Doug spent the rest of the ride trying to convince me that the air conditioning guy would notice if Ketos got in, that the space is probably too small for him to crawl into anyway, and that even if he did get locked in there, he could survive for three days without food or water because cats are built to withstand harsh conditions, and even a human could survive that long without nourishment if need be.

“But what if he gets Wade Steffey’ed?” I asked.


“Remember Wade Steffey? They found his body in that closet at Purdue?”

“That was an electrical closet. Completely different. This is an air conditioner.”

Our flight ended up getting delayed for two hours, and I felt my cares slip away as I got day-drunk at the airport. Plus our flight gave out free cocktails to make up for the delay, so I was definitely not thinking about cat death by the time I stumbled off the plane and into the oppressive heat of Texas.

When we returned to our cats three days later, it was clear that they had had a perfectly restful holiday weekend. And we had air conditioning again.