Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hanging With the Normals at the Car Shop

Hello Friends:

Right now I am waiting for my car, which is in for routine servicing.  I have a great shop, which is where we bought the car.  (Pic is not my car - I have a Honda.  One can dream.)  They have a nice waiting area at the shop with tables, free internet, and plenty of light.  And lots of people who have no idea that you are terrified.

I call them 'normals' sometimes.  This is so unfair to them, and to me.  I know perfectly well there are no normal people, only people pretending to be normal, or people who don't even realize that 'normal' is an issue.  Still, I can't help it, looking around and watching how they touch things without thinking, use water fountains with impunity, and eat their lunches on tables that have vague grease stains.  How do they do this?

It's been an hour and a half, so far, and nearby is a dad and his little girl.  I heard him say, "You've been so good!  It's been more than three hours, and you've been so patient."  He has a computer for her to play games, and she's been playing and listening to music.  He's been a great dad, watching her and commenting and giving her praise.  Bored or not, she obviously loves the attention.  It is so very cute, and I should be filled with thoughts about how d@mn cute she is.

And yet.  She is sick.  With something respiratory.  She has been coughing the entire time I've been here.  Every cough makes me jump inside.  I have to mentally try to calm down, and fight the urge to run away.  If she was at the same table, I would have moved - making some excuse about giving her and her dad more space.  But they are a dozen feet away in a large, well ventilated room.  She's sitting and playing happily, if getting a bit tired.  She isn't running around coughing on everyone and touching all the doorknobs and flat surfaces.  But I am still half stuck to the ceiling.  And I feel so bad about it, trapped between (1) wanting to feel sorry for her being sick and bored and/or smile at her cuteness, and (2) running away from her in fear.

More coughing.  Lots of coughing.  It has been two solid hours, now.  They must have been here for four.  I am still fighting the urge to run.  To find another table.  I don't want to.  I'm reading blogs and working on my writing and am in a nice, quiet spot without a lot of foot traffic.  I want to stay.  I know perfectly well there is no "safe" table.  No matter where I go, there will be something that will make me cringe.

My car is finished - two hours and fifteen minutes of cognitive dissonance.  I'm sure you know exactly what I mean.  I am so relieved to go.  I stand, collect my things, and my courage.  I walk over to the little girl and her dad and I say, "Wow, you are so patient!"  She's surprised, and sort of blinks and half-smiles at the stranger.  Her dad smiles broadly and replies, "A lot more patient than I am.  She's a good girl."  He is pleased with what I said.

So this is my win for the day.  Going home and wondering if I am going to get sick isn't anything new. That's every day.  But making someone smile in spite of terror, that was bonus.  So what's your latest win?  How'd you make it happen?

Your Hostess With Neuroses

Image credit/info: cool car from donaldmctim on flikr via Creative Commons, CC 2.0


Lolly said...

I wonder what normal people are like all of the time, so I can totally relate! Although, I think I put a pretty good show on pretending that I am somewhat normal, and I always wonder what others are "carrying around" with them. Congrats on your exposures!

drugsaregood said...

You are so brave! I'm very impressed that you have to deal with this all the time, and yet you always seem to act "normal" to me. I appreciate reading your blog so I can understand what you are going through.

Amy said...

My most recent "win" was going to see West Side Story last week in a large, crowded, popular theatre. My claustrophobia is getting worse as I get older. We were seated in the back mezzanine underneath the balcony. Pretty good seats, but after a while I realized being underneath a rather low "ceiling" was exacerbating the claustrophobia.

I was trying not to be punchy, trying to be in a good mood because my husband really wanted to see this show. Two young people sat in front of us and started to snuggle. Like your little girl, I was fighting between "young love is so sweet" and "why are you people in my f*^&ing way."

And there were two what I like to call "matinee ladies" behind me, one who breathed really loudly through her wistling nose. And there were young children in front--why do people think this is a family show?

I was projecting my fear onto the other people--who were all fine, really--as a kind of rage. I wanted to punch everybody. Except the kids, they can't help it.

But I made it through the whole show, not in a great mood, but good enough so my husband could enjoy himself. It's hard to stay non-critical--I kept telling myself to lighten up. That just doesn't seem to work, so I guess being aware, in the moment, and accepting the present reality is something I should work on.

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