Shortcuts to Crazy

November 17, 2009 at 5:27 am (Uncategorized)

1. Waiting for an email response that Is. Not. Coming. Once I got confirmation of the shortlist placing yesterday, I emailed the agent who’s still got the full MS with what I hoped was an enticing little update as well as a subtle reminder of my lowly existence. Ever since I’ve been checking my email account with the dogged obsessiveness of a gambling addict plugging a hostile poker machine. STILL NOTHING. It can’t be good. It just can’t be good. Were it remotely going to be good, wouldn’t she email back and say, ‘Hey, good for you, I’ll get back to you re. your MS ASAP!’ or something equally perky? She would, I wager, if she wanted to. But no. There’s still nothing. And yes, she’s definitely there. Just ignoring me.

2. Waiting for Llew to get home before I eat my dinner. You know, I spend all day by myself as it is, so I kind of like sharing at least one meal a day with someone else, namely Llew. Last night, I sent a text pretty early on saying something like, ‘Should I be planning to eat alone?’ Nothing. That’s usually an unintended hint that the answer is yes. Llew really doesn’t like acknowledging this, so often he just won’t respond, as a warped and completely ineffectual way of delaying the inevitable. But I guess that’s partially my own fault, because even knowing how to read the warning signs, still I persist in playing along. So of course I put in a call at some point last night, and he said he was “leaving in about twenty minutes.” An hour passed. I ate a banana and a fistful of peanuts to stave off my Where-the-Hell’s-My-Dinner hunger pains. Then I called again.

“You were leaving in twenty minutes an hour ago. How does that happen?”

“Sorry. Nearly out the door. I’ll call you when I’m on my way.”

I waited. And waited. And then I just snapped and couldn’t wait anymore. I’d made dinner, there was still no call, so I sat down at the table and ate my dinner alone. Still no call. I was done eating and was reading my book on the couch when my phone finally buzzed. Too late, she cried! It was just after ten o’clock when Llew walked in the door.

“Hello stranger,” he said. “My name’s Llew.”

“Who?” I sniffed.

Wow, someone’s ears must have been burning. Llew just called to say he has to work back tonight. I told him he had a starring role in today’s blog post, since waiting for him is one of my prime Shortcuts to Crazy. I don’t really know how to tackle this increasingly common situation for a number of reasons, but I realise writing this that waiting, in general, is not a state that sits well with me. I don’t like waiting. Waiting makes me feel passive. Powerless. Waiting rarely delivers.

And maybe that’s the lesson I’ve been so unwilling to learn: there’s no point waiting. Waiting is just another name for a waste of time.

Postscipt: Stations of the Blog

So it’s later now, and I’m back from a run. Always very clarifying. I do fear these things I rant about above will just flare periodically, as it’s certainly not the first time I’ve had a dummy spit about being left home alone. It happens sometimes. And as happened just now, then I have a bit of a think about it, and realise – always the same thing, so when oh when will I know it true? – that my contentment is not Llew’s nor anyone else’s responsibility. If I am lonely, then it is up to me to do something about it. Leave the house. Phone a friend. Make some plans. Llew’s not forcing me to sit here alone – no one is. The other thing I forgot to mention before (well, it was chief among the ‘number of reasons’) is that Llew’s working really hard, and I’m sure my whining about eating by myself is simply adding to his load. I’m sure – I absolutely don’t doubt – he listens to me gripe, looks at my set-up, compares it with his own, and then thinks, Fuck you! Why don’t you try this on for size and see how you like it?! And that’s a fair response. I can see that. Frankly I’d think the exact same thing myself.

I just fall into that trap, that’s all. It’s an oldie but a goodie. All I need now is a rolling pin and a copy of Good Housekeeping.

By the way, I finally spoke to Nana this morning. Not that I caught her in her room, oh no, the RN had to track her down. Maybe next time I should take a leaf out of Lady Alzheimer’s book. She still knows a thing or two.

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12 Comments

  1. litlove said,

    Umm, hmmm, how can I say this and not cause offense? Okay, let’s say it this way. I have taken a chunk out of my husband before now for turning up home super-late and worrying the hell out of me. He has the same sort of problem as Llew in that when he feels guilty, he makes bad decisions and stops communicating. But I told him this wasn’t at all fair. I’m not a mind-reader and it makes me anxious to think of him dead on the road or similar. It doesn’t matter if he’s late home, but it DOES matter if he doesn’t inform me. If he’s going to be late, he always rings me by 7. That means we both put our 50% into the situation, rather than me having to prepare for him AND then behave like a saint if he doesn’t turn up. If our situations were reversed, he would respond very badly indeed to my non appearance, so it’s only fair and in keeping with the reality of human nature.

    • doctordi said,

      You needn’t worry about ever causing offence here, LL, I don’t think it’s possible for you to offend me. I totally agree, and have also had a few things to say about this in the past. I’ve also worried unnecessarily, which is an anxiety I could live without. Llew’s not ringing is his way of denying he won’t be able to leave the office; he thinks, somehow, that if he doesn’t confirm this fact, it won’t come to pass, and before he or I know it, he’ll be home opening a bottle of wine. I know this is the [il]logic; it’s not a deliberate attempt to vex or ignore me, which makes me less inclined to start a fight about it. It’s actually because he wants and hopes to come home that he doesn’t call to say he’ll be delayed. But yes, he would also find my doing something similar, whatever my reasons, completely unacceptable, but that would never happen both because I wouldn’t do it and because he can’t sit in the apartment on his own for longer than an hour or so unless he’s asleep.

  2. Grad said,

    With regard to (1) maybe she’s trapped under something heavy. Maybe the refrigerator fell on her, or something, and she can’t make it to the computer or the phone to call for help. Or perhaps she’s stuck in an elevator and the red button doesn’t ring and she has a worrying feeling because she drank her weight in coffee that morning and is now faced with the obvious dilema. As for (2) I used to hate it when my husband came home late as well (which is something he did all the time at the end, and for less noble reasons that your Llewie), but I betcha that when Llewie does come home he is “present” in every sense of the word. I guess you can tell I’m a big Llewie fan :>

    • doctordi said,

      Graddikins, the obvious dilemma is a very amusing image, thank you!! Alas, I fear nothing has fallen on her except a profound disinclination to further her correspondence with me.

      And I don’t blame you for that – I’m a big Llewie fan too. Even though he drives me crazy. And got home at 1 am this morning straight from the office.

  3. Pete said,

    Not sure what to make of #1. She could just be busy. Give her a couple of days and then politely bug her again would be my suggestion. (Although I think Grad’s suggestion also rocks.) Agree with LL on #2. As much as I’m also a Llewie fan, I think he should just tell you when he’s not going to be there for dinner.

    • doctordi said,

      Thanks, Pete… I’m at a loss. I don’t really fancy bugging her again, however politely. I think agents are genuinely overworked and underpaid and I have no desire to aggravate her… I just think the lack of response at this point must point to a lack of enthusiasm. Not to worry; at least I haven’t blown my chances with the agencies I haven’t even tried yet! I’ll be doing another draft before it goes out to any of them – and this was the test. There is method in my madness.

      Llewie hates disappointing his fans – I’ll be sure to pass all this on!

  4. Lilian Nattel said,

    Waiting sucks. Take your power back.

  5. doctordi said,

    Lilian, that’s the core thing I’m taking from it for myself. I understand Llew’s work pressure, and the reasons why he does and doesn’t do the things he does and doesn’t do, but I have to make arrangements for myself in the same way he never hesitates to make his. I think working from home sets up a clear imbalance on this front that I need to address on my own terms.

  6. woo said,

    hmmm, as someone who lives alone and therefore eats alone pretty much every night, I’m at a loss to imagine waiting for a special someone to return home in order to eat. One of those perks of being single which I take for granted and forget whenever I think I want a partner. I should make a list and stick it to the fridge: “Reasons Why You Are More Content When Single”. 🙂

    And, as an agent (though an artists’ agent, not a writers’ agent), I’d give it at least a week but then definitely contact her again. She’s probably up to her eyes and your manuscript – since it doesn’t have a deadline – has slipped down her priorities list. Like Llew, she’s probably just too embarrassed by her inefficiency to admit it.

    • doctordi said,

      It’s true, Woo, and I loved living alone too. I guess it’s just that Llew and I have been together for such a long time now – coming up to thirteen years – that eating together is the norm instead of eating alone. But I am catching up on an awful lot of reading – a definite plus!

      Looks like you were bang on about the agent – and I’m really glad I held off!

  7. davidrochester said,

    I have a similar problem with the Amazon, who never seems to be able to predict with any degree of reliability when she’ll leave for her two-hour drive. So I’m never sure whether I should wait dinner, or just eat. On the occasions when I’ve given up, she has always shown up right when I’m done, which is a bummer. On the other hand, when I wait, I’m a nightmare of low blood sugar and annoyance by the time she arrives. *sigh* I never do this kind of irritating thing, so why can’t everyone be more like me? This is a question I never stop asking myself.

  8. doctordi said,

    Parallel universe, David. Seriously. Are we actually the difficult ones, do you think…?!

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