Saturday, December 11, 2010

Best Laid Plans

I realized I was mildly depressed last week when I was taking a bath. Sitting in my tub, water warm around my hips, I reached for one of the orbs in the green dish perched in the corner and lowered it into the water before me, watching as it fizzled and dissolved.

My standard operating procedure is to recline while the bath fizzie scents the water, lowering my eyelids and enjoying the temperature and texture of relaxing in the water. This time I stayed upright, hair that had escaped my ponytail tickling my shoulders, and observed the sphere as it grew smaller.

Bubbles emerged on the surface of the water as I held the source of fizzling blue in my cupped palms. I admired the gentle paisley patterns as the water before me turned a pretty blue-green. As the color deepened, the orb shrank into nothing. The gentle hiss of dissolution ceased. And I closed my eyes and relaxed, submerging my shoulders and the stray locks of hair in the water.

I have thought of late of that bath orb - how it existed and then it didn't, all in the matter of moments easily ignored. Granted, my mood - slow and sensitive and alternately gently sad or vibrantly angry - shifts thoughts toward the random and makes correlations where they don't naturally exist. But when thinking of plans - both professional and personal - I picture my calendar in Outlook or emails written to friends. And the times and places they once defined have also dissolved. Letters and numbers that once stood proudly as a cohesive plan crumble into their individual components and I picture them tumbled at the bottom of the page, jumbled constants and digits and vowels, punctuation slipping past the bottom margin as it finds spaces between the lines and curves.

Too poetic and vague? I understand - here's what happened, out of order.

I missed work last week, unable to tolerate people in person. I tell myself I did the important calls, covered the critical priorities, but remain stressed and afraid as I picture digging myself out next week. I am defensive when people note that I failed to do what I said I would. Angry when they ask again when I remember the first question. I just can't seem to gather my thoughts sufficiently to answer it.

I invited Will for lunch. Any plans made within 24 hours are considered wildly spontaneous in my world - I had no real expectation of snacking or sex. The stolen moments appealed to me though - tucking a bit time between meetings and before flights to converse and laugh and exchange flirtatious glances. So, once confirmed, I showered and dressed, smoothing on lotion then stockings, twirling to admire the flow of my dress, curling my hair so that it tumbled in charming disarray. The moments of delicious anticipation congregated into hours of television and work and watching the fire. (Which was pleasant in and of itself so this is the least upsetting of our vignettes.)

I should currently be much farther south, smoothing the coats of pretty cats and making a face as I devised a way to awaken Friend without risking her wrath. (There is no way. I'd risk the wrath.) Instead, I remain in the land of snow, my backpack - so carefully and lightly packed - resting forlornly inside the door from the garage, my sweater tossed downstairs as I decide whether to launder or toss it as it contains vomit stains from my will-remain-untold sick moments in the airport bathroom. Wiping away tears in the late afternoon yesterday, both from my migraine and disappointment, I retreated to the parking garage and made my way carefully home. No cheese biscuits. No Greek food. No sharing space on the sofa with Friend, doing work and trading stories and spending time with someone I miss and adore. Instead, I took Tylenol and Advil, turned on the shower and curled on my bathroom floor in case I was sick again.

I met Doug for dinner, having meticulously planned a time to meet and have dinner and drive through twinkling Christmas lights. Meetings ran long inside and snow fell outside, conspiring to make me late. Time, both together and apart, was spent in the car, though lights were from traffic, not holiday decor. I asked if we could change dinner locations as I didn't want to drive in the snow and he gracefully agreed. We wound up watching television, our change in plans resulting in catching the end of The Big Bang Theory, but I ended the evening shoving the snowblower through gusting winds instead of snuggling on my sectional.

I shifted the direction of the snowblower's spout countless times as I attempted to clear driveway and sidewalks. But the wind would change directions - or perhaps I was walking directly into it - and I ended up sputtering as I was coated with snow. I would pause each time, lean down and turn the handle so that the spout rotated, try to find a dry bit of fabric to clean my glasses, and rumbled on again. Only to become freshly coated with a new layer of frozen water.

Deciding I would make a good abominable snow monster, I finished my chore, cold but cheerful. I suppose - if there is a take-away - that would be the lesson. There are times when all the organization and confirmation won't work - you're working against forces of nature or brain chemistry or urgent needs of family or work.

So I'm destined, apparently, to spend the weekend alone as I wade through the mess I've created of my calendar and attempting to make sense of the letters and numbers, dashes and dots, to catch up at work. I'll reschedule dates and try again for missed plans. Oh, and if you throw up on yourself and cry? Some airlines will waive change fees so you can go see Friend another time.


Anonymous said...

How many boyfriends you got, anyway?

Amelie said...

Oh, I'm sorry for the missed trip and all the weather-and-work-related chaos. Hope things look better soon.

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