It appears I am completely, utterly alone in my hardship and plight. 🙄
I have neither hardship nor plights of any kind. Most of the time… 😉
Something happened today that was a little unusual. Perhaps I will entertain you here. It has to do with this unique situation we all find ourselves in, this covid/pandemic/restrictions/protocol thing we have been forced to adjust to.
But allow me to start at the beginning.
Today my daughter and I moved out of the house once again to spend some time with my mom at her house. The plan is to stay for at least 3 days. The menfolk have been left to their own devices.
They will survive. One of them is self-quarantining and the other is a teenager who sleeps for 15 hours so I don’t anticipate too many issues arriving via text. (I will ignore them anyway…)
So, as I was packing up the car this morning I noticed a receipt on my sacred spot on the kitchen island. This is a designated corner that belongs to me for my phone, my list, my few things I need on a daily basis. Everyone has been asked to keep their stuff off my spot, and for the most part, they have respected this wish. But there was this receipt now which meant that I was expected to action something.
So I asked him what he wanted me to do with it.
“Can you pick up these masks I ordered on your way to Oakville,” he said. The address is in Burlington.
Burlington is the next town over from Oakville, which is an extra 10 minutes or so past my mom’s house.
“Can I have the car with the a/c?” I asked. My own car (which belonged to my dad) is 18 years old, and the a/c needs fixing.
Yes, was the answer. His car is much newer, and has a built-in electronic screen that lights up like a cockpit when I plug in Android Auto. I like the GPS and map function in that car – my car doesn’t have any of that.
I needed the GPS and map function to located this obscure address to go pick up his masks.
While driving, I had my tween girl sit next to me. As we approached the exit, I asked her to get off her phone and help me look for the address.
And also didn’t.
Her phone kept dinging and so she would respond to whomever was texting her while I was trying to navigate around traffic in an unfamiliar area with lots of industrial-type buildings and yada yada I missed the address. I didn’t turn on the right driveway.
“Can you please help navigate me here,” I told my child, and that’s when it happened.
She started getting all stressed and anxious.
It perplexed me, truth be told. She’s small/short for her age (almost 13) so it hasn’t been that long since she started sitting up front with me in the car. When she started about a year ago, she used to love playing navigator and help me locate all her obscure rinks across the Greater Toronto Area…(she plays rep ringette in the winter).
Today though, I was struggling to see addresses behind all these huge trucks blocking my view, watching for both traffic and the map on the screen on my dash, scanning the signs that alerted me to building numbers and addresses, all while she was…
I pulled into an empty parking lot and stopped the car.
“Why can’t you help me find this address?” I asked her. “Tell your friend you’ll be back to talking to her in a few minutes. I need you here.”
She launched into this whole thing. Why does her dad need to order these masks anyway, don’t we have masks at home? Why does she have to look for the address, I’m the one who’s doing the driving. She doesn’t even know this area, she’s never been here before…
I shut her out of my brain and pulled back onto the road. I must have missed the sign the first time. Sure enough, I noticed it the second time we drove by – a tree branch blocked it. It was hard to see.
So I pulled into the parking lot of this industrial building with about 7 or 8 doors and looked for the name that matched my receipt.
The kid next to me was still going on and on…
One of the doors had the word chocolate on it. To lighten the mood I pointed it out to her, albeit with a bite of sarcasm.
“See, all this complaining you’re doing and you missed the chocolate building,” I pointed out to her.
“No I didn’t, I saw that one,” she responded defiantly. 🙄
Anyway we both finally saw the door that we were supposed to go to. I parked, turned off the ignition, put on my mask and walked up to the door.
Of course there’s a big sign that said STOP.
There were covid instructions below that.
Bla bla bla you can imagine all the stuff it said, but ultimately in order for someone to come to the door I had to call a number.
Now here’s the thing: long time readers of this blog know that I have a hearing loss, caused by a childhood illness. As soon as I see a note to call someone on the phone, I feel anxious.
I never make phone calls. (That’s a lie. Yes I do, but very rarely…)
So. Here I am standing next to a busy street full of semis, which make a lot of noise driving past, expected to make a phone call in order to do a curbside pickup.
I go back to the car where my girl is still texting and tell her to come out with me and bring her phone.
“Bring your phone,” I said. (This is important.)
Again, she starts getting all anxious on me. Given that I’m anxious for my own reasons this is a recipe for a disaster. I’m aware of this, but I don’t want to prolong this whole ridiculous curbside pickup thing and just want to get on with it.
But I’m stuck. We drove all this way, there has to be an easy method I can get those stupid masks despite being hearing challenged.
Before I let my anxiety get the best of me, I catch myself and tell myself “you are the parent, she is the child“.
See? Hardship and plight. 🙄 🙂
Part of me wanted to quit and leave. Let HIM get his own stupid masks when he’s done self-isolating. What does he need the masks for now anyway? He’s self-isolating, he’s not going anywhere requiring a mask.. (He tested and was negative but decided it was better to finish quarantine for the remainder of the two weeks he had already started.)
Anyway. After I went through this whole internal dialogue while the complaining child was standing next to me, I finally decide to just get on with it. If need be, I will talk, tell them I can’ t hear them, have them bring me the package, and that’s that. If there is a problem, then I will say ‘forgetaboutit’ into the phone and let the husband figure it out when he emerges out of quarantine.
Next, my girl hands me the phone to make the call. I say “you call, it’s your phone”.
She starts to cry.
I looked closer, and notice she brought MY phone. (I wanted her to bring her phone because I wanted her to call on her phone, and to leave my phone plugged into the car…)
I should have just sent her back to the car, but I didn’t. There was still, after all this, a small part of me that depended on her to help me hear once the phone call connected.
Long story short, the call to the inside of the store was somehow handled without too many disruptions. I told the lady that I had trouble hearing, but read off all the pertinent info from the receipt so she could find the package and bring it to me. Which she did. She came out masked, handed it to me, and I took my masked self and my masked child back to the car and left.
Upon reflection though, I realized that I will not have any way around avoiding the phone completely, particularly not now with all these covid-related complications.
Despite texting/email etc being the favorite method of communication by most people these days, talking on the phone is still preferred, or expected, in certain circumstances.
I am not thrilled about this; I never enjoyed talking on the phone. When texting was invented, I was thrilled to bits to no longer be so isolated. (Flashback to the 80s – I was a teenager and everyone was talking on the phone for hours. Everyone but me.)
Today, we have masks on our faces. I know I’m not the only one who finds this hard where hearing is concerned…we don’t notice how much we depend on facial expressions, and reading lips, until we can’t do it anymore.
It occurs to me that I have to find a way to let this problem remain mine, and not transfer it onto my kids. If, by chance, one of them notices me struggling in a situation such as the one described above, and jumps in to assist me out of free will, then that would probably ease their anxieties a bit (I would think). After all, if mom doesn’t demand/expect help, then there is no reason be anxious…(right? idk…)
What do you think?
I just made the assumption that she wanted to help me, like she did earlier when we were talking on speaker phone to my mom. Or on previous car trips, when she was thrilled to be my navigator looking for her rink.
Today, she didn’t want to be in charge of anything, nor did she want to help me even though I clearly could have used it.
This whole situation unsettled me. Which is why I started the first sentence of this post with “I am completely, utterly alone…”
Thank you for reading. TGIF.