Friday, November 20, 2009

Getting Free of Fear

I've had a couple of days of living with old stuff and feeling seriously sub-normal. And I've got anxiety around the big family lunch tomorrow (not my family, my host’s), 60 people; and I forgot that it's my MIL's birthday on Monday, which makes me a weasel. That's how I woke up this morning. We'd planned to drive to a place Bob likes today, The Hardwood Barn. They have a sawmill, and exotic woods, and he wanted knife-handle materials. I'd said yesterday I'd like to drive, about an hour each way, because I haven't been, not enough, and especially cuz the forecast was for rain today. Like I said last night, I've driven in a little drizzle, and it sucks on those cobblestone streets up in south Tyler, but not in rain. He asked this morning if I still wanted to go, cuz he could feel I was unhappy. Yes, I did. Just cuz I feel crappy sometimes doesn't mean I want to share it around, and it would be at least another week before we could go. They're only open Friday and Saturday. We can't go tomorrow, and I dunno if they'll be open next weekend with the holiday, and we'd got up early and everything -- I didn't want to add being really selfish to the crap I was already carrying. Second, I knew that going anyplace would feel better than staying still. And third, I knew that driving would require most of my focus and the crappy mood would fall behind because I still have to pay attention to driving a lot.

And it was going fine. I told Bob that a friend of ours who'd been in financial management for an NHL team for a while had said hockey players talk about "flow" -- something smooth and seamless happening in the play -- and I had flow with the driving today. We were on Rte. 259, which is two lanes southbound; a big, two-lane wide grass median with a fairly deep ditch; and two lanes northbound; 70 mph. I had the cruise control set about 72 or 73, and the guy in front of me was going a lot slower than that. I signalled a lane change and checked behind me and there was nothing there. I made the lane change without touching the brake or accelerator, so without disturbing the cruise control, because I didn't have to. We were passing him, and he pulled out to pass the guy in front of HIM, who was really the slow one, without checking his blind spot first, I guess.

I knew he was gonna hit us, and I went onto the gravel shoulder and tried to keep off the grass. I had a flash that at that speed, we'd cartwheel in the ditch. I don't exactly know yet what I did -- I just know he didn't hit us and we didn't go in the ditch -- I just got back into the lane and kept going. I didn't even have time or enough free focus to be scared. I just did what I had to. Bob said I did it perfectly, my reflexes were good, and he'd been sure the guy would hit us. By then I was just grateful I wasn't gonna have to show an out-of-country learner's permit to a state police officer. We'd been the following car when I started to pass him -- I thought that would make it all my fault. Bob said not -- when someone hits you in the side by cutting into your lane, it's their fault. I said there'd at least have been lots of witnesses -- like the guy driving the 18-wheeler behind us. He was far enough back he wouldn't have rear-ended us too -- but I was really aware all the time that he was back there.

We were almost there. Stopped at a gas station because there's no public johns at The Hardware Barn. Bob bought us cokes, and we kept going, and I kept driving. I drove back too. There were some little sprinkles of rain, enough for me to figure out the windshield wipers, but not enough to be slippery. I was told last week not to use cruise control when it's raining cuz you can hydro-plane easier, so I hadn't set it coming back. Then I decided I 'druther drive without it because I'm learning how to feel changes in speed. I tend to speed. But today I was aware before I glanced at the spedometer whether I was hitting five mph above or about three mph below the limit.

Like I said, I didn't have time to be scared then. A friend had called this morning before it happened -- she'd been sure there was something wrong with me, so she called. Later she read yesterday’s e-mail and found out about my low blood sugar yesterday and thought that was it, but I think she knew about the car thing somehow, before it happened. We didn't get the phone -- it was where Bob couldn't reach it. I called her back later from the hammock, with a kitten, and when I was telling her about it, I started to shake.

Rest of the day was pretty normal. Bob's making pork ribs for tomorrow in the slow cooker; I buried the smoke detector in the sofa cushions and opened the windows; four-year old Aubrey came down and helped peel the ginger root cuz I was making qeema again ... (I'd put two chocolate-covered marshmallow Santas in the cart while we were grocery shopping and gave her one. "Is it Santa? Yes, it's Santa!" That made her happy, then she bit the head off, tilted her head back and closed her eyes and she had the most blissful look on her face. Later she had chocolate on her face and I wiped her off, which she didn't mind, because "I can't see it.") I was putting the rest of the qeema away warm, so I could drain off some of the fat first, and I had a big spoonful of it to go in the dish -- and I wanted to swallow ALL of it, and I knew Bob would never know. I haven't felt THAT urge in a real long time. I think it's still reacting to the driving.

I'm really glad we went today and that I drove, and that it happened, and I kept driving. It's not going to scare me off driving, I know that. And I didn't realize until right now -- I had no road rage and wasn't doing blame or getting mad. But I'm still kinda reacting. I gotta go hard-cook 30 eggs now -- we have to be there at 1 tomorrow, and I'm not getting up early enough to do them first.

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