Yesterday was the day of buying two tires and getting my oil changed.
My daughter came to my apartment so I could follow her to a tire place close to her home. Taking away the possibility of my getting lost and missing the appointment.
She had made the appointment earlier in the week, after having had her husband pick out the appropriate tires online.
I see the very crowded parking lot, and that is my first sign of the day that I probably should figure out how to get this done on a weekday.
We go in and there are multiple lines of people waiting to be served. TV’s are on. There are at least a dozen people already sitting in the waiting areas with their mobile devices. Phones are ringing. So many conversations, I wonder how they actually hear one another.
Too much stimuli. My daughter had asked if I wanted to wait in her car, but I wanted to show her I was unafraid, so I said no, it’s okay, and stood in line with her.
I should have stayed in her car.
I am distracted by every sound, every phone ringing, every conversation. So I am not in an environment where I will be able to think well.
My daughter gives the guy her name, when we are next in line.
I feel like those horror movies where someone’s head is spinning round and round and their body isn’t. Because there are sounds oozing from every nook and cranny of this place. It seems to be coming into the pores of my body and causing circuits to explode.
My daughter explains that her husband has picked out the tires, and they are to phone him if they run into trouble. She gives them my keys and we are out the door.
Sigh of relief.
We get to her house and her husband has errands to run. Andrew is fussy from teething and I see him cry for the first time.
After having been in the tire store less than thirty minutes, I want very much to get down on the floor with him and cry too.
My daughter, in between taking care of her son, tries to work with me on how to put myself in other people’s shoes so that I don’t upset or alienate myself so much from others. What she says makes sense to me, but it doesn’t make sense to me.
I could put myself into their shoes, I tell her. But I would still have my brain on in their shoes. She does not quite understand this, and I am ill-equipped to explain it to her.
We talk about this for a bit. I can see she is a bit frustrated, though trying not to be, because her job is in HR (human relations) for big companies. And what works for the employees seems to not be working with me.
But I can tell she is trying her very best. And I don’t want to disappoint her. It seems like at every turn I am disappointing someone.
We get a call from her husband that they can’t find the “key” to unlock the tires. Apparently there is something that keeps people from simply raising your car and taking your tires. It is news to both of us.
We are thinking “key.” No, her husband tells her, it does not look like a key. We are both hard pressed to understand at this point.
At any rate, without this thing, they will have to break something to get my tires off, and it is going to cost more. Ka-ching. Isn’t it always something more?
The first time, three years ago, when I bought two tires for this car, it ended up costing me $800. It went up by increments of fifty to a hundred dollars until it was more than twice what I was quoted.
I was ill-prepared to argue with them when I picked it up because they might as well have been speaking another language.
My son-in-law isn’t going to let this happen, plus they have a coupon that will save me some. Every little bit helps.
When it is finally ready, hours later, I have not been able to eat. I am too nervous about the eventual cost.
If you remember, I put my ads in the hands of an ad network late last fall. Somehow for me it was a bad choice, as I ended up getting behind my normal income by about a thousand per month. Which meant I was watching the money going into my bank account grind to a halt. And then past the halt.
So I’m not saying this would hold true for you, but I am already on edge having to spend money because I am down a good $3000, and they had taken me off another of my revenue sources, saying they could make better money than the other one was. And when I finally threw in the towel, the other blog revenue source would not take me back.
Suffice it to say I am very nervous about money right now, and I hate to see my bank account dwindling when this is all I have in the world.
We get back to the tire place and they attempt to explain to us about the locked tires. She and I are both not quite understanding at this point. I am so distracted from all the outward stimuli that I am hearing bits and pieces of the conversation.
I am hearing a bit of the TV, some of what a tire guy is explaining to a man about why the one he wants him to choose is the better choice, and the other extraneous noise you would probably not even be aware exists.
Finally, we are able to leave. Since I am in an unknown area for me, she drives ahead of me until she gets me close to my comfort zone, then turns around and goes home.
I’m already feeling like I have asked too much of her. But I know this would have been so much worse without her. There would probably not be two new tires on my car.
I stop at the Braums to get a few things, then in the same parking lot is a Taco Bell. It is about 3 p.m., so I get in line with my car and finally get to the menu and speaker.
The young man politely asks what I’d like today, and suddenly my brain just goes on holiday. I cannot speak because what I want I can’t find the words for. Finally, fully aware that I am holding up everyone, I come through. I have found the word for “nachos,” which for minutes totally eluded me. And I am on my way home, tears brimming.
I get home and figure out fairly quickly that I don’t have my camera with me when I start to go outside to take photos, which is pretty often. My mind tries to backtrack when last I saw it, and I can’t recall.
I wonder if I had it in my car at Braums when I didn’t lock the doors? I think of the possibility that I have lost my camera, which is never far from my fingertips.
I call and call my daughter. They only have cell phones, and rarely answer them. Everyone texts, and I don’t have the kind of phone for all that. Or if I do, I am unaware of it. And though I know I am being a stubborn old mule, I hate the way it is brutalizing the English language that I so love.
After a few phones calls that go to voice mail, I am close to hysteria. I am crying and trying to distract myself with Pinterest. (If ever anyone wants to know why I have accumulated so many pins on Pinterest, it is because it is one of the things I do when anxiety is spinning my brain in all directions.)
Finally I call and she answers. Oh, yes, she sees my camera on the kitchen island. They will bring it to me tomorrow after church. I say thank you, not wanting to be any more of a bother. But I am now wound up even more because I will be separated from my camera for close to 24 hours.
I manage to get through the hours until it is time to do exercises on the yoga mat, after which I take my shower and share a baked sweet potato with the dogs. When I am anxious, they are anxious.
We eat and I try to calm myself, because I am still wound up. I have taken my evening shower, my second of the day. Which normally relaxes me. Two showers a day every day of my life, just like clockwork.
But by 9 p.m. I can see that this is only going to get worse. So I fill the bath tub with water and sit down in it.
I am being totally transparent with you these days, so I will say that I am sitting in that tub, unable to lie down because things have gotten so out of control. I finally give in and allow myself to do what my brain and body has been wanting, which is to rock in the water.
I try not to do this, as I fully realize it is strange and I have tried all my life to stay away from “strange”, obviously with little success.
After I have rocked in the water a bit (which is called, I now know; “stimming”), I am finally relaxed enough to lie back in the water and rest my head against the other end. After a time, I can feel my body finally begin to relax.
I have taken my medication. I now read a few chapters of my book, needing silence, until my eyelids want to close.
In my sleep, I dream of odd bits and pieces of things that don’t make sense.
Somehow I am living in a home in the middle of a shopping mall, but I don’t have walls. So everything going on in the shopping mall is right there.
In my dreams, I am frantic from being so close to everyone else and having no privacy. I can walk to the edge of my “home” and I am within inches of all the people walking by.
This is what I consider a nightmare. Walking into a shopping mall is what I consider a nightmare.
I awake this morning exhausted and feeling as though I drank the night away (I do not drink at all, by the way). I am hung over from too much happening in one day, which will mean it will take me days to get to a place where I can once again step outside my door and go somewhere.
Which is just as well, I suppose, because I am still very sore from falling almost a week ago. My knees and hands are so sore in the joints that I feel like the tin man who’s gone too long without being oiled.
So now that you see how one day can spin so far out of control for me, maybe you understand why people like me become isolated. People are afraid of us because I suppose they think, what if that were them? What if it somehow rubbed off?
Abi and Charlie have just spotted a gnat flying around, so they are crying and shaking and I am going to have to figure out how to get the thing out because otherwise they will both be clinging to me the rest of the day. I can hear noises in their tummies which probably means I will be cleaning up diarrhea if I don’t get the thing out soon.
It took two people to get two tires (excluding me) and one oil change for my car. Even though I was mostly in the background, the whole situation with all the stimuli caused my whole day to go awry.
And next time Andrew gets down on the floor and cries, I might just follow suit. Monkey see, monkey do. We will rock together.