There are innumerable ways to go crazy, but this afternoon I was presented with a surefire exit plan that takes you the fastest route from sane to grumpy and deranged. If you are tired of living a hum drum life filled with peace of mind and that boring, sometimes pesky good mood, follow these simple steps.
1. Decide you'd like to move to another country in which the first language is anything but English (i.e. Korea) and attempt to get your paperwork done in a timely manner. This alone will have you pulling at your hair and talking to yourself while emailing other countries and attempting to decipher humble but urgent messages from your would-be employer. Ooh, also, you must try to set dates for each stage of paperwork to be done. You will go crazier faster if you base these time estimates on the lead times posted on government websites.
2. Try to get to any government office during their business hours. I DARE YOU. Unless you work a job with fabulous hours, many of which you are allowed to work at home or not work at all, you will not be able to make it. The particular divisions of government I am concerned with at this point (The Secretary of State and the County Commissioner) are open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. I work from 8:15 to 3:30. So now you are thinking, "Oh puh-leez. Any person with half a brain can make it from LaVergne High School to downtown in an hour!" But you are so wrong. (No offense. But I am the crazy one, so I know.) The second stage of mental health deterioration begins as you attempt to back out of a Visitors Parking Space after school through two lanes of traffic. Good luck doing this in a timely fashion. You could look like you are at stage 4 if you run up and down the line of cars waiting for their kids behind you and ask them if they'll let you out when the line moves. This works better and is more comfortable when it is not 11 degrees outside and the driver of the mini-van does not look like he just got out of jail on parole. So, back out and then get on the interstate and proceed to I-40. You shouldn't run into much traffic if you are lucky. At this point, you are racing the clock, so your buttocks are a little tense in your seat, along with your lower back. But you should have Melanie (or your own brand of trusted road trip companion) still reminding you that you have plenty of time in which to make it to the address on the sheet of paper you've handed to her which has directions, addresses, and phone numbers on it. You're not completely insane yet. But wait for it....
3. Try to use any kind of directions besides a nav system to get you to the James K. Polk building on 8th Avenue. Oh, by this time, you're only mildly annoyed and panicked, since you need to mail all your crap tomorrow in order to get your visa on time so that you can not only relocate your life, but reunite with your boyfriend whom you haven't seen in over 5 months. But add all the one way streets and forks at stoplights and you'll soon be pissed. After you find the James K. Polk building, you must find somewhere to park. Hope you brought $3.00 for half an hour of parking in a lot two blocks away from the building (which you drove around twice in your frenzy). At this point, you think you will not go crazy. You remember your criminal background check and everything. You have your paperwork in your hand and you head to the building, despite the fact that you cannot feel your face and you have to pee so very very badly. Walk to the building. Go in the entrance. Have your license scanned and a name tag printed. Proceed to 6th floor. Go to desk that says Apostilles. Hand the woman your paperwork. Immediately crumple over and lie your head on the desk when she tells you it is not enough to have your things notarized. You must also have the notarized things verified (whatever the hell that means, because I thought that's what a notary did). Try not to cry as the woman at the desk writes the address and phone number of the Davidson County Commissioner on your manilla envelope. At this point, you are cracking up. Exit building as quickly as possible, forgetting you have to pee very very badly, while you wish to kick everyone you see on your way out of this ridiculous building in the shins until they feel as bad as you do.
4. You have reached the "loud" stage of your breakdown at this point, if you have followed all these steps carefully so far. Everything you say to Melanie is about 10 times louder than your "inside voice." It is even louder than your outside voice because you're not laughing and running around on a playground. You are enraged. You had done your research and consulted all the right websites and called all the right people. You were not informed there would be a verification. Attempt to reach the other place by 4:30 (It is 4:17 when you call for directions). This will stress you out considerably. You will begin to repeat things (a definite sign of mental illness) like, "We're not going to be there in time. There's no way. It's impossible. We won't make it in time. We won't. We're not going to be there in time. There's no way. Nope. Can't be done. Impossible. We won't be there in time," and so on. Try to figure out how 8th Avenue turns into Rosa Parks Blvd and then back into 8th Avenue, not by following the same road as you were told by the nice lady giving directions and "doubting you'll make it in time," but by making a left turn and then a sharp right. It is important to note at this time there will be lots of traffic and no one will want to go the way you are going. You must always be in the right hand lane behind a car who is not turning right. You MUST catch every red light. And they must be downtown eternal-like red lights. 5-minutes-and-counting red lights. If you get green lights, the plan will fail and you will return home a little disappointed, but not insane. And not nearly grumpy enough.
5. Make your way to the place you needed to be 10 minutes ago even though you cannot accomplish any of your tasks by doing so. At this point the futility of your entire day's goals becomes apparent, and you realize you no longer need your sanity. It simply hinders you from understanding and being at one with the chaos and bureaucracy that rule the government processes and the roadways in downtown Nashville. You shed your mental health willfully and arrive home with chocolate pie in hand and a grumble as you walk in the door and realize that nothing has been done to fix the draft that comes in under the front door and you still have to fight a towel that has been placed there to staunch the flow of freezing air just to get inside. Your mother will greet you with, "Aren't you grumpy?" And you shall look at her with the eyes of a mad person and smile and calmly say, "Yes. Yes I am."
And you will be crazy. The time frame for this particular strain of insanity is not known, but similar results can be guaranteed if you follow the steps above.