A Retrospective on Impulse Control

I may appear to be a mild-mannered woman, mother and teacher, but inside–inside I battle ill-timed urges which can be cause for humor and embarrassment.

Some times I am successful in curbing my impulses. Take a recent meeting I had with my boss. We were interviewing a candidate over Hangouts and as he adjusted the computer so I could see, he flicked his arm across my pen. My thumb was up to my mouth ready to lick and wipe his arm where I had marked him before reason prevailed and I reminded myself of one of the most basic commandments of workplace interactions:  ‘Thou shalt not lick thy boss.”

Other times, I am not so successful. On a recent trip to Chicago, my family was going to take a boat tour. We were running late, so we were rushing to catch the boat which was leaving in less than ten minutes. My family was behind me as I walked down the stairs following a well-dressed gentleman . He checked his watch and quickened his pace down the stairs. I followed suit, our footsteps thudding on the metal stairs leading to the pier. He glanced behind at me, smiled and ran. I followed leaving my family in a cloud of dust. We ran the length of the pier. I was a golden retriever who had spied a fluffy squirrel with excellent taste in shoes and a charming smile, so I ran.

After my family caught up to me and we realized I had blown past the ticket booth in my pursuit of “Smartly-Dressed-Gentleman-Who-I-Took-For-A-Squirrel” my husband said had the man had candy, I’d have followed him to his white van containing a tear-stained mattress without hesitating. (I’d like to think I’d have enough sense and self-preservation to not enter a strange car with a strange man). Regardless, he joined a different tour and we returned to the ticket boot to buy tickets for a later trip.

There was the time I decided to move furniture and shoved a bed out my bedroom door only to have it get stuck, effectively blocking me in my room. I had to call my husband (then boyfriend) to come and get me out. Then there was the time I sang a naughty song to my husband in front of my 3 y/o (complete with sassy butt shaking) before realizing what I was doing and who was present.  She went around spelling the alternate form for ‘cat’ for weeks before she stopped.

I could go on, and in fact, my family did several weeks ago. It took about two hours. To quote Jane Austen, “in such cases as these a good memory is unpardonable.” They, however, have not forgotten, nor are they likely to given the frequency with which my gaffes occur. While inconvenient and often embarrassing, I can be assured my spotty impulse control provides hours of entertainment for my family and friends.

(C) Sara Ackerman, 2018


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