Herding Buffalo


I have this disease Mr. Flinger calls “Herding Buffalo.” It usually occurs when life is in complete chaos and there is little time for anything.  It usually happens when an idea enters my busy brain and suddenly it can’t get out. The single idea turns in to fifty things that need to be done RIGHT! NOW! and suddenly there is the sound of herding buffalo in my head.

Right now, I have Herding Buffalo.

I last got Herding Buffalo when we were moving to Seattle. It came up often during the moving process, since moving is a bit stressful, especially moving states and jobs. Instead of writing a list of simple things such as “Sell House. Get rid of Crap. Buy House. Get moving truck. Move.” I started getting dizzy with details. Once the “sell house” entered my head, I was crazy with lists of things we had been meaning to do for two years. “Fix stairs in backyard to playhouse” “get rid of dog pot-holes” “plant flowers” “re-landscape!” “Add on second story!” “Have roof replaced!!”

Each item gets louder and bigger. Each item grows from necessity to complete obscenity. Each time there is another buffalo and suddenly I’m crying under the kitchen sink because OH MY GOD THERE IS SO MUCH WE HAVE TO DO. Mr. Flinger would look at me and say, “I have “sell house” on my list. That’s. It.”

Sometimes I wish I was a simple man.

I make todo lists. This is not a huge shocker since I’m anal and bit compulsive. I like a clean house. I like bills paid on time. I like things neat and done and marked off the list. The first item on my list? “MAKE TO DO LIST”. It’s instant gratification. As soon as I’ve done my list, I have something to mark off.

Right now my list is longer than Santa’s. “Grade things, Do dishes, Respond to email…” it’s dull and long and makes my brain spiral in to, “Paint kitchen” “Re-sand diaper changing table” “Add shelves to hallway!” “GET NEW CAR!” It spirals out of control until I have “MOVE FROM TINY TOWNHOUSE” in big bold letters underlined at the bottom.

Like that’s going to happen.

I’m working on priorities. I’m working on those items that actually have a deadline versus those items that pop up simply because I’m flustered. I’m working on breathing while accomplishing a task or two and knowing that my todo list might not get finished each day but it’s an ongoing project.

And most of all, I’m trying to not be angry at myself when I hear the Herding Buffalo. Instead, I’m trying to let them run, roam a bit, and realize that I really can wrangle them back in. I just stay out of their way for now. I know they don’t last forever.

Posted: 2/3/2007