Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Stripped of Pride

I've heard women say that once they went through childbirth and exposed themselves to every doctor, nurse, and janitor who wanted to "take a look", modesty became a thing of the past. Having buried my mother, grandfather, and husband in the span of 18 months, I feel about the same regarding my smarts, or in this case a lack therof. To be fair, it isn't as if my IQ suddenly dropped 50 points simply because they all died. However, the mental manifestation of grief seems to be hitting me pretty hard these days.

There is a chapter in my Widow to Widow book (can't believe I am admitting to owning it), titled "Where Did I Put my Mind?" Some excerpts follow:

"A well shared symptom of "the crazies" experienced in early widowhood is the maddening amount of time spent looking for things you had in your hand only a moment ago, or had logically filed away for safe keeping...You are performing new and demanding tasks and making decisions, and on the other level you are trying to cope with your loss, your grief and the ever-growing realization of the full dimension of that loss...Expect, at least once, that in paying bills you will send the electric company check to the phone company and vice versa (been there, done that)."

Anyways, tonight's crazies might even top running over the tire spikes in the parking lot, but I'll let you be the judge.

I am spending Thanksgiving in North Carolina with the family of one of Dalton's closest friends. Iain and I are booked on a flight from Ontario to Raleigh that leaves at 10:40pm. Red eyes are good for him; he sleeps just fine on a plane. Larry is driving us to the airport.

I had hoped to leave my house by 8pm in order to allow plenty of time to check-in and settle down. It is, after all, Thanksgiving weekend. At 7:45, I was set. Iain was fed, bags were loaded, house was locked.

OH MY GOD!!!!!

I'd left my ID in the copy machine at work...in Hollywood...30 miles in the opposite direction of the airport...at rush hour...in southern California. You can't fly without an ID, so I jumped in the car and prayed. And called my friend Matt (who lives closer to work) to see if he could grab it and meet me en route. And prayed. And prayed some more. Please let the traffic be light. Please let me get home before 8:50. Etc.

By some miracle, I managed to get to LA and back in less than an hour. This is a huge feat considering that it normally takes me an hour and a half to get to work. I pulled into the driveway at 8:42, and we were off to Ontario. At 9:10, we pulled up the curbside check-in, which was remarkably empty, and unloaded the luggage.

Skycap: Do you have your ID with you.

Me: Yes, and what a funny story that is...

Skycap: I can't find your reservation.

Me: What do you mean you can't find my reservation. I just looked at the e-ticket an hour ago.

Skycap: Do you have your confirmation number?

Me: No.

Skycap: I have a Mary and a Chris Harding. Are either of those you?

Me: No. Let me call my friend and have him check my email for the confirmation number.

(me dialing, waiting for an answer)

Skycap: What flight did you say you were on?

Me: The 10:40 to Raleigh.

Skycap: We don't have a 10:40 to Raleigh. We have an 11:55 to Raleigh, but you're not on it.

(me waiting for Matt to find the email)

Matt: Here it is. Delta flight 1103 from LAX to Raleigh leaving at 10:40.

(me taking a deep breath)

Me: Matt, did you say LAX?

Matt: umm. yes.

Me: Shit.

It was 9:20 and I was in Ontario. My flight was leaving LAX at 10:40.

We are not going to North Carolina for Thanksgiving.

And that, my dear friends, was my latest attack of the crazies. I may not have lost all sense of modesty following childbirth, but I have definitely been stripped of all pride by grief. The irony is stunning as well. I drove from West Covina to LA to pick up my ID, managed to somehow make it to Ontario, only to discover that I needed to be at LAX all along.

I will miss seeing my friend and meeting his family, but what can I do about it. Every flight is booked and overbooked. It is, after all, Thanksgiving weekend.


Blogger pitt_chick said...

I have read that book too, and it was actually one of the better ones that I read (despite using "older person" language at times). I can well relate to "the crazies." A few weeks after Eric's death, I was driving around, looking and looking for this business that I had visited before and getting damn fed up that I couldn't seem to find the sidestreet that it was on. And then it hit me. I was in another town, the business that I was looking for was in the next town over. And that is one example of many.

I got so scared, no one told me that going crazy was normal. I thought that I really was genuinely going nuts.

5:55 AM  

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