Yesterday afternoon I thought I was being a good neighbor and I took an elderly neighbor out to lunch and than I proceeded to drive her around our little community so that she could go to the grocery store, drugstore, post office, bank, and so on. I was having one of my “better days physically” and it was nice to be out of the apartment on what was a lovely fall day. However, for a small community where the main shopping area is a mere mile circumference this trip took us four hours. I didn’t complain. I didn’t complain when she started telling me about what she had heard on FOX news this morning while she was getting ready for our shopping trip. I just kept trying to enjoy the sunshine, the beautiful fall colors on the mountains, watching the waves on the lake, and oddly giggling because I kept singing in my head the theme song for Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. (He surely would have approved of my behavior yesterday. Although he probably wouldn’t approve of me bragging about my behavior now – so lets carry on.)
While at lunch she began, well, I am not sure what her intentions were of mentioning this to me were. I am assuming they were of genuine concern. She had mentioned she had heard on FOX news (of course) that a terrorist attack was imminent in New York City and that she was worried about me going alone with the new threats. I told her not to worry about the new threats because I was pretty confident that if they were even vaguely credible New Yorkers would be on guard. (Like how I recently got a new FedEx driver, yet after a delivery a neighbor called to see if everything was alright. Take into account this neighbor lives 3/4 a mile away from me. I think it is just a New York state kind of thing.)
She then began asking me questions about how I was going to take care of myself after I was discharged from the hospital. I told her I would be staying at an okay hotel just a couple miles from the hospital, so I could get there quick if need be and there was a pharmacy and doctors on call 24/7. I told her I was scared because this is major surgery and because I would be alone afterwards with no idea how sore I will be or if it will be traumatic for me. Other than that I really wasn’t scared, but more anxious. I am a naturally anxious person. Through in some brain surgery and the largest US city it is the cue for the perfect storm of panic attacks !
I shifted the subject and told her about one of the doctor’s most recent patients and how she felt well after about five days and she was able to do some light activities. I told if I felt like that I might want to try something “touristy”, but very easy to celebrate not only a successful surgery, but to celebrate my birthday. (My birthday falls during the time I am down there.) I told her the nurse at the hospital had even suggested going to the Empire State Building would be very simple and inexpensive. I mentioned I might want to try to find macarons to celebrate my birthday (plus I want to find out why everyone seems to be going crazy over these confections.)
She was absolutely shocked ! I thought that I was going to have to pick her jaw up from the table at lunch. She was asking me why would I want to do those things by myself and wouldn’t I rather have someone with me to do those activities with. I told of course I would, but I don’t. I don’t have anyone to be with me after surgery, but I still have to do it. She agreed with that. However, she just couldn’t wrap her mind around me being a tourist by myself. She asked if I was scared to take a bus or taxi in New York if I went to the Empire State Building by myself. I said yes, but I will do it anyways. She wanted to know what I would do if I needed help. I told her I would stop and ask someone, call my hotel, look on the internet, cry, or if all else fail perhaps try Selena’s deployment of a Princess Bubble.
What I am trying to say can really be summed up in this cliche picture I found on Pinterest.
I m going to be brutally honest just like Jerry Maguire’s first fiance. It sucks big time being alone and being self reliant year after year. For the most part I accept that. It is easy to tell myself it is because I am type A or an only child or choose to live in a rural community with no like minded people. It is just as easy for me to subtract those circumstances to remind myself that I came from a small family, have always been socially awkward, and just get flat out emotionally exhausted by people because I invest what I wish they would invest in me.
For the most part though I am okay by myself and I definitely think that I handle being alone better than most people my age or younger. It still aches though, but so does dancing too hard to the loud music of my choice !
I’ll close with some cliche, yet witty Pinterest pictures.