- Ever had a day where you just wanted some quiet and got anything but? You start off your day with good intentions but then everything goes wrong?
- Today I was off and designated this to be a writing day. Since I became a writer I have learned that no one. Literally no one respects the writing day–not even the writer. I often try to sabotage my own writing day with trips to the mall and inane phone calls. But not today. Not…..Today…..
- I told a few people that this is a, “don’t bother Caroline unless your house is on fire or aliens have crash landed into our town and you want to warn me to put on a helmet or something” kind of day.
- This did little to stop the barrage of texts, calls and “can you call this patient back even though we can technically take care of it for you?” phone calls this morning.
- So I bravely put my phone away this morning and pretended it didn’t exist. In my world, that’s as insane as announcing that I’m going to chuck it all and finally become that ventriloquist I was meant to be.
- My phone is like my child. I generally like to keep it near. I miss it when it’s far away. It needs me.
- When people regale me of stories of how they “left their phone at home” or just “forgot to carry it.” I stare at them in shock and horror as if they just told me they locked their kid in a hot car and went for ice cream alone.
- I decided to take a deep breath and calm myself. I went to the couches on the outside patio of my apartment building. There I found an impossible magical oasis where there were umbrellas and 12 couches completely devoid of humans and only the occasional singing of the birds to keep me company.
- I rubbed my eyes and stared at it for a moment. Could this be real? I walked over and touched one of the couches. Nope, not a mirage. I really had the place to myself.
- Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like people. I do. I work with people all day long. For some reason I’m a people person. I don’t know how it happened. It wasn’t part of the plan. Even babies love me. They giggle and coo when they see me. One time a stranger’s baby tried to jump into my arms. My patients love me. They actually think I’m sweet and a great listener–and they want to come back and see me again and again. I don’t know how that happened either.
- When I want to have a writing day, I’m someone else entirely. I become “the other me.“ I don’t like human contact of any kind when I want to write. I’m a different creature. Anything another person does, whether it’s talking, standing, sitting, chewing gum or even just existing in this dimension is a major distraction and completely annoying. Many writers will tell you the same thing.
- Writers like to hide from the world while writing. Then when they have written enough for that day, they rub their eyes blinded by the sunlight, and emerge into the world and want to rejoin society again. Once again they are friendly, cordial and want to be around others. The urge to stab someone with their pen for distracting them is gone. Not that we would ever do that of course. But we may fantasize about it a little.
- Back to the couches…I paused and marveled at how beautiful this umbrella laden comfortable couch scene was. It was a perfect weather kind of day. It was a writing day and the prospect of no interruptions and actual real life peace and quiet made me want to call people just to tell them what a miraculous place I found. But then calls would defeat the purpose. Besides, who would want to be on the other end of that call?
Me: “I found a couch with no people!!!”
Them: “Umm that’s great Caroline…(awkward pause and silence) Yeah, I’m going to go now.”
I’d be sure to hear from them again…
- For about 5 wonderful minutes, I enjoyed the peace and was able to hear myself again without the barrage of noise and distractions that permeate my mind every minute of every day. I began writing.
- My heaven did not last long.
- Today was the day the building wanted the grounds mowed, edged, gardened and leaf blown–even though there were no leaves. I don’t know what they were leaf blowing. I think they were there just to blow my thoughts and last shred of sanity away so I couldn’t write.
- Soon the man on the mower began happily driving it and passing me going the left, then right, then left, then right, then left, then right, then in front of me, then behind me, then in front of me…you get my drift. (and by “drift” I mean, “aghhhhhhhh!!“) As he slowly and patiently made his tracks in the grass, I tried not to let it distract me. I really tried.
- Then I pretended the mowing was just the sound of kittens meowing or the sound of the ocean. That didn’t work.
- I even began praying to God to make him stop. You know you’re at the end of your rope when you begin praying to a higher power to make a mower stop working.
- As soon as I prayed, the mowing stopped. I thanked God. Then the mowing started again 10 seconds later. God has a great sense of humor. He did get him to stop, I just didn’t specify for how long.
- Soon I began fantasizing about the mower malfunctioning, I even envisioned myself slashing its tires. Not that I would actually do that of course. But a girl can dream. (Who have I become?!!)
- Then the mowing symphony was accompanied by those electric edgers, edging the near walls and creating an awful sound that would make ponies cry.
- Then the mower got even closer as if he was mocking me. I began to think crazy thoughts that perhaps the mower was doing this to me on purpose. He somehow knew it was a writing day.
- Let’s forget the fact that I’m allergic to freshly cut grass. I tried to ignore that fact as the allergen particles filled the air and landed all over my face, hair and body. I continued to avoid the fact as water filled my eyes and my nose began to itch. I ignored it so hard that the allergy symptoms actually went away. Mind over matter works people! Except not when you want to ignore noise.
- Suddenly, I heard a loud banging. When I say “loud”, I mean it was earsplitting. It sounded like someone was dropping a large boulder plucked from a mountain right on top of a car–repeatedly and 2 feet away from me. The ground was actually shaking. I felt my soul disconnect momentarily from my body and then change its mind and return again.
- I don’t know where it was coming from. Perhaps from behind the trees there was construction. Perhaps it was just the sound of my own sanity meeting its final breaking point.
- Finally the banging stopped. Then soon after, the mowing stopped. It really stopped. The edgers stopped too.
I breathed a sigh of relief. I thanked the heavens.
Then the leaf blowers began…..
- The side eye look I gave the leaf blower man who WALKED RIGHT UP TO ME WITH THE BLOWER ON (ok he was just doing his job) made him back away from me slowly. There weren’t any leaves anyway. I think I scared him. I wonder what it’s like to be at the other end of my stare? Too frightening a concept. When someone is disturbing my peace, I think I own a stare that would make a rabid angry dog run and hide. I shiver at the thought.
- Then a lady sat down at one of the couches far away from me and began speaking in what I think was Russian. She was far, but I could still hear her. I don’t know what she said, but I can tell it was gossip– and gossip is an international language. I could tell she was imitating another woman and making fun of that woman‘s laughter.
I somehow managed to keep writing.
- Then a spider fell from above and landed in my hair. It began moving quickly through my strands looking for prime real estate. I brushed it off and kept writing.
- A minute later, a bug landed on my hand, I tried to swat it away but it was too fat and slow and I ended up just murdering it right there on the back of my hand. It left a trail of blood on my hand.
- I left the blood there as a gentle reminder of our mortality and kept writing.
- Then a man came outside and began smoking again. This was his second cigarette in an hour. He had a cough. I said aloud to myself, “if he quits, maybe he will stop coughing.“ I even contemplated telling him this.
- At this point, I realize the fact that I even know this about him, means I’m too distracted. That’s when I began to give up and decide to change venue.
- Allergen provoking mowing, edging and leaf blowing and a gossiping lady is one thing. But trying to murder me with second hand smoke when I’m trying to write is enough to send me fleeing. The disdainful look I gave the smoker was enough to make him back away slowly and go back into the building tossing away a half smoked cigarette. I must have had a pretty frightening look.
- Then I was finally at peace. However, that lady was still on the phone. It had been two hours and she was STILL ON THE PHONE. Who has so much to say for two hours straight? Literally no one. Even the most interesting person will stop being interesting after 45 minutes of non-stop talking.
But it was a writing day…sniffle sniffle….
Why don’t I just write at home you wonder? Too many inanimate distractions there. Which is actually worse…
My quest continues…..
Maybe I can buy my own island…but then a coconut may fall off a tree knocking me in the head, rendering me unconscious–and that’s too embarrassing to explain to my family.