Impulse Control and Being Nobody’s Baby
So the other day I was pumping gas…sounds like the intro to a bad joke, doesn’t it? But seriously, I was at the gas station the other day and got to thinking about how there is this little voice in the back of my head that always talks to me when I’m sniffing the gasoline fumes. Anybody else ever hear that same little voice? You know, the one who dares you to just drive off, tires squealing, the hose still dangling from the tank like in some bad Hollywood action flick. No?!? Damn, it really is only me.
Falling squarely in the category of impulse control, or maybe just crazy, is my fantasy (?) of such reckless behavior as driving off at the gas station. Oh, don’t worry, I would have prepaid, so it would only be a little illegal. But it is also something I would never do. It just isn’t in my nature to do anything that crazy, impulsive, and destructive.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t hear that little voice asking me, “Come on, don’t you want to try it, just once?”
There is such a long list of things I’ve always been tempted to try but would never actually do. Such as:
- squeezing an egg until it breaks
- putting the other party’s bumper stickers on someone’s car during an election
- keying the car of a jerk
- jumping off a tall building just to see what it feels like to fly
And so on and so on. See, the voices in my head are dangerous. And thankfully I ignore them. Honestly. All these years I’ve never done the absolutely bat-shit crazy things the little voice asks me if I’m just a little bit tempted to try. Which is a good thing. And is also proof that I’ve got some decent impulse control.
Ah, impulse control. That nifty thing that folks develop over time as a child and yet some adults obviously haven’t mastered yet. And since I’ve never been one to live too close to the edge (just in case that voice dared me) I have always had strong impulse control.
I was the kid who looked both ways, twice. Who did all the homework and read ahead. The kid who was responsible and could be trusted. Trusted to just ignore the little temptations to be reckless. (I am now deliberately glossing over a handful of dumb ideas which actually cement my “normalcy” as a teenager.) It is just my personality – who I am. A non-risk taker. A basically nervous Nelly. And serious fuddy-duddy.
Which is why I’m also the kind of person to not be “baby”-ed. As in ever called somebody’s baby. Oh, my mama surely said such things at one time and that was all good. But there is something in my personality that caused me to never inspire a boyfriend to call me his “baby”. Not once. Which is a damn good thing really, since it would have creeped me out. Because there is one thing this serious girl does better than anything else and that’s demanding that I don’t need anybody’s help to do anything. (Again, glossing happening here.)
(In case you’re wondering where the hell this is coming from, a very long-ago boyfriend’s FB status called his current girlfriend his “baby” and I had that knee-jerk reaction of being thrilled he never called me that.)
This isn’t some rant against old boyfriends or folks calling their sweetie-pies “baby”. Really it isn’t. It’s a pondering of personalities and what causes some folks to do and be certain things. A questioning of what makes one person serious and another silly. Of one being self-reliant and another in need of care-taking. Is it birth order? Gender? Era? What is it about me that makes me such a tightly wound spring and nobody’s baby?
I have no good idea. My gut feeling is that a whole morass of goo is at work here and that is okay. Personalities are not always easily understood but it allows us to be less boring at all those holiday parties we shall attend.
Just don’t tempt me. I may not be anybody’s baby, but I might curl my toes over the cliff edge…just to see what happens.