There Is A Point To This Story

When I was in Grade 6, we went out to a woodsy place to learn about food chains.

While there, we played a game in which every student was assigned an animal. There were lots of rabbits and mice and they each had six lives, represented by six little cards. There were fewer raccoons and snakes and they each had three lives, represented by three little cards.

I got to be one of only two foxes, each of whom had just two lives. We were at the top of the food chain; only man (played by the teacher) could take one of our lives.

Then they sent us all out into the woods for an elaborate game of tag in which you had to try to catch the “animals” below you on the chain, and take one of their “lives.” Once you were out of lives, you were out of the game.

Like any other school assignment, I took this game very seriously. I remember coming upon a group of about twelve rabbits and mice just sitting together in a clearing chatting; they were all more than happy to hand over all their lives so they could stop playing this stupid game already and go grab a smoke at the exit.

I was super happy to take all their lives because then I was WINNING.

The various levels of the food chain were released in staggered entry into the woods, so that the smaller animals could get a head start. Us foxes were one of the last to join the game, and once in the woods, we only had about fifteen minutes before “man” came after us.

When the whistle blew indicating that “man” was coming in, I did something that is just SO typical of my personality, so indicative of the person I am.

I hid.

I found a little nest of tall grasses under the low branches of a pine tree. I curled up under there and went into full hibernation mode.

The teacher – “man” – came by a couple of times but never saw me. I ended the game with both lives intact, but I don’t think it was quite what the teacher intended. Certainly in the real world, a fox can’t hide at the bottom of a tree indefinitely.

I think about this event all the time because any time there is stress or risk in my life, that’s what I do — I hide. I curl up at home and I don’t talk to anyone and I just survive. I build a cocoon on the couch out of blankets and cups of tea and watch a lot of reality TV and pretend the outside world does not exist.

I’m stressed today. Today is Blog Out Loud. I go back and forth between worrying that there will only be 10 people there, to worrying that there will be a hundred people there. I’m fretting about being too scheduled; I’m fretting about not being scheduled enough. Will everyone be able to get to the coffee bar? Will everyone be able to get to the bathroom?

Will anyone actually talk to me? Or will I just skulk around the sidelines like a pimply debate club member?

(Speaking of which, I naturally woke up with a huge pimple this morning. Sigh.)

I guess it’s too late to go back to bed and spend the day in front of Tour de France coverage and last night’s So You Think You Can Dance.

So if you see me there tonight – doubtless freaking out – do me a solid and say hi.

10 thoughts on “There Is A Point To This Story

  1. I would have hidden too. I like to win too much. 🙂
    I will totally say hi. I guess I will be able to recognize you by the pimple?

  2. I understand. I actually woke up today and thought “I bet Lynn is stressed out today, I know I would be”. It is so awesome that you took this on, and it was such a huge deal. I wish I could have helped you more. I will do as much as I can tonight and I really don’t mind standing (I sit all day at work).

  3. Holy Cow, lady…just relax. There will be more than 10 people there and much less than 100. Everyone will have a good time. We’re all grown ups and if we think the schedule is too loose or too tight we’ll just make some adjustments as we go along. Everyone is really pleased that you took this one and amazed that you were able to do all this organizing whilst being a full time mom to young kids. You’ve done your bit, now let us do ours. It will all be good no matter what happens (okay if Raw Sugar gets hit by lightening and burns to the ground that might put a damper on things, but other than that…) See you tonight. And relax..

  4. Today I wish that I lived in Ottawa so that I could be there at BOLO to give you a big hello and a warm hug (yea, I’m a hugger). I think it is absolutely amazing that you took this on and by the looks of your awesome Blog Out Loud blog it looks like it is going to be a fun night.

    Oh and one other thing. If it wasn’t for your BOLO blog I would never have found some of the amazing blogs you are going to be featuring tonight.

    Have fun and just remember to breathe:)

  5. Let go and be Zen!

    Ditto was XUP says.

    Everything will be wonderful! At the end of the evening you will look back and wonder what you were so worried about.

    See you there!

  6. I’m thinking of going to get Morty at some point in the evening so people can see the cuteness in the flesh… He’ll be sure to calm you down. He’s a snuggler.

  7. I got to play that game on 2 separate occasions; we must have went again in the next grade.

    The first year, I was a rabbit, and it may have made sense to hide. I didn’t enjoy the game that much.

    The second year I was an eagle, much higher on the food chain, and I liked the game a lot better. I could be killed, but I could also kill.

    Maybe this game does speak a little to how we deal with stress. When I get stressed, I tend to fling myself into the fire, in a self-destructive kind of way. I try to do too much to fix the problem instead of picking one way (preferably the best way) and sticking to it. I flit from thought to thought, unable to really do anything but panic and flail about.

    I’ve been in this mode for about a month now, and I simply must get out of it!

    As for tonight, I know nothing I can say will help your stress (although if I were to say something I’d probably say “read what XUP says a few more times). Plus, if I were in the situation, I’d have the same fears! But they’re just fears. Everything will be okay. In situations like that, I think of the worst case scenario, and often it’s not so bad. Worst case scenario here? You get to hang with me for a bit and catch up. Maybe we’ll have some cake.

  8. What XUP said: Relax. You’ve done a great job organizing this, and it’ll be hella fun. (How do I know? Because I’ll be there, of course!)

    It’s always best to organize things in pairs: one person worrying there’s too much, one person worrying there’s not enough. Organizing something on your own means you have to deal with this duality all by yourself, which is a pain.

    See you tonight!

    – RG>

  9. beeks

    Hi! Was that game in a woodsy place, perchance, predator/prey at MacSkimming? My brother has a great story of his own about winning that game… his strategy was to hang out in a raspberry patch he found, eating raspberries while everyone else forgot about him. Personally I was just never that stealth. I wish I’d been able to attend Blog Out Loud! I heard about it probably about a week prior and planned on coming… but fell asleep instead. Whoops! I heard it went really well… maybe I’ll get to come next year?

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