The 2012 United States Presidential Election has become less of an exercise in American democracy for me and more of a constant barrage of panic attacks and stress nightmares.
I haven't had particularly bad panic attacks since I was a senior in high school and I didn't know if my good grades and obsession with personal perfection would be enough to get me into a good college and I haven't really had stress nightmares since the time when I actually watched The View and took the things Elisabeth Hasselback said seriously. But I've been on the verge of panic attacks since the debates started, haven't been able to sleep through the night and I'm dealing with a chronic stomach ache that might be an ulcer. Or it might just be gas that I want to believe is an ulcer because that sounds more dramatic.
Anyway, I am suffering from extreme stress this election cycle. If you're curious about how precisely bad my anxiety over the upcoming elections are, here's just a simple list of things that I presently find less stressful than reading, hearing, talking or blogging about politics in the United States at this exact moment in time:
Getting my first period in front of everyone in the girls' locker room in 8th grade.
Deciding where to spend an obscenely large gift card.
Flipping pancakes in a non-non-stick griddle.
Going to the dentist when I already know I have a cavity.
Wearing a swimsuit in Miami. Specifically Miami. Wearing a swimsuit in your sister's backyard pool in Pennsylvania, for instance, is not as stressful as wearing a swimsuit in public on Miami Beach in Miami, Florida.
Removing a still live mouse from a mouse trap.
Watching my sister give birth.
And then watching the afterbirth come out.
Deciding at the age of 22 whether or not I wanted to adopt a cat.
Shopping for bridesmaids' dresses.
Buying presents for people who return 90% of their presents.
No, really, deciding whether or not to adopt a cat is a huge and stressful decision for anyone if you're 22 or 52.
Talking on the phone with Time Warner Cable.
Going to the DMV without crying.
I don't know if you know this, but cats can live anywhere from 12 to 21 years. That is a long time.
Watching Nostradamus and Apocalypse themed documentaries.
Saying hello to my ex-boyfriend in a bar while he's flirting with another girl without letting him know my heart's still broken.
I mean, when I was 22, I had to ask myself, "Do I really want this same cat when I'm 43?"
Talking to my crush. Just the physical act of speaking.
I wasn't even sure I liked cats.
Taking the G train.
What if my cat was one of those cats that pukes everywhere and hisses at people?
Watching Bambi's mom die. Again. And again. And again.
But then, if I'm too afraid to commit to a cat--just a cat--does that mean I'm too afraid to love?
Realizing that I am too afraid to love and will die alone, at 43, at the same moment my cat dies.
THESE THINGS ARE ALL LESS STRESSFUL THAN THE 2012 UNITED STATES PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
Maybe political news programs should use more pastels in their color schemes and change their theme songs to the sounds of humpback whales in love calling to each other?
Just a suggestion.
By the way, I did adopt the cat when I was 22 and it was a pretty good decision, but I'm still worried we'll die at the same moment when I'm 43 and it's stressing me out.