I started writing this post 4 hours ago and then got an email from a client, and phone call from a client and then realized I hadn’t created a newsletter for a client and remembered I had to schedule an appointment for my daughter and reschedule several other things that need to be changed due to a new appointment….
And now I have to pick up my kid from school and take her to the chiropractor for one of our twice weekly visits – so this will have to wait until I get home this evening and can finish it.
… One Month Later
Getting back to the text that broke the camel’s back – my back – or at least one that reduced to me tears while I hid in the bathroom so no one knew I was losing it once again – even if only briefly.
Whenever I find myself in the bathroom, sitting there in a room that needs to be cleaned more than any other room in the house, and that I can’t muster the energy to do so, I am reminded of Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame, and her existential moment that opens her memoir.
She’s on the bathroom floor crying because she doesn’t want to have kids, but her boyfriend does. In my mind she has described the bathroom (I can’t recall if she really did, but chances are I will check it out and come back and edit this part), and it is stunning. It has beautiful white tile on the walls and floor. The fixtures are glistening, and there is no towel shoved under the chipped claw foot tub to catch the water that leaks from the now not-up-to-code faucet that is rusted and obviously leaking.
I think of Elizabeth Gilbert and laugh my ass off.
Those of you reading this that live a life similar to Elizabeth Gilbert will not understand why it makes me laugh, those of you who live like the rest of us – mothers, wives, ex wives, daughters, sisters, etc – you probably laugh too.
I can’t imagine living a life that takes me from sobbing on the bathroom floor to Italy and then Bali on a quest to find myself while eating and fucking along the way. I can’t because I have kids, I have a mother, and I have pets. I also have a job, an ex husband, and all kinds of other responsibilities. I’m also broke and no one has yet to offer to pay for my trip to any of those places.
So how did I end up in the bathroom, muffling my sobs so as not to scare anyone who lives in my house?
I got a text from the dentist.
I’ll type that again..
I got a text from the dentist.
I get texts from the dentist when my daughter and I are overdue for our 6 month check up. It starts out well and good – a gentle reminder that it’s time to schedule an appointment. I ignore it because I am usually driving when the reminder comes in and then I forget about it.
The next text is also gentle enough, but a little more assertive – something like “we have several available times this week, call to schedule your overdue appointment.”
The one that usually sends me over the edge always, without fail, arrives during a crises – the dog is vomiting, the ceiling is dripping and falling down, the school calls because a child is sick and needs to be picked up – usually all at the same time.
It goes something like this:
Hello, you’re due for a cleaning and a last minute opening has become available at 3:40pm on 4/1. Text Y to request this time, N if you’d like another time. Then it gives me the option to opt out.
I receive the text at 3:20pm on 4/1.
I’m sure the Elizabeth Gilberts of the world have no trouble dropping what they are doing and scoop up the appointment. It’s probably what separates people like her from the rest of us – their willingness to go with the flow and let life take them wherever it will. This is probably a skill she developed in Bali after she figured out all the meditation stuff. I’m sure it comes in handy.
I know I need to schedule an appointment with the dentist, but I’m already overbooked with more important appointments for my daughter that it’s easy too let the teeth cleaning go.
I know, I know, I shouldn’t ignore my dental hygiene, when I’m old I’ll appreciate having most of my teeth so regular check-ups now are important and should have the same priority that my other appointments do.
But they don’t.
I don’t mean to pick on Elizabeth Gilbert, I am sure she is a lovely woman and I am glad she has found herself.
But is it too much to ask to be able to find myself too?
I am almost sure I will never make it to Bali. Mostly because it looks really hot there and I don’t like heat. Also, it seems to me it’s a pretty long plane ride to get there – probably with a few connecting flights – and the idea of traveling that far with just a carry-on doesn’t appeal to me. I could’t bring all the shoes I would want to wear – and would have no idea what shoes to bring.
I like shoes. I like shoes a lot.
It’s almost embarrassing, except I don’t have people over anymore so no one except my kids know about my love of shoes. Which is actually pretty funny since my mother will tell you that I hate wearing shoes. I can usually be found barefoot in the warmer months.
I love shoes because they represent options – a night on the town, a game of basketball, a walk in the park, an afternoon at the coffee shop, an evening at the opera, a gala, a job interview, a power meeting… you get the picture, right?
I have shoes for all of these occasions and then some, and one day I will the life my shoes suggest, I just don’t have time right now because I have to clean the bathroom and schedule a dental appointment right after I repaint the ceiling, take the dog to the vet and check on the sick child.