Reconnecting with the outside

Within the past five days, I have had the wonderful experience of reconnecting with old friends on two different occasions, which I find to be wonderfully karmac after just writing about how much better it is to keep old friends in my last blog. Friday, I had lunch (yes, I actually left the house and drove somewhere) with three of my former co-workers and one of their spouses. The occasion to warrant such a gathering? Jammi and her husband Kyle were in town on their way to the Outer Banks, and she wanted to have lunch at her favorite Mexican restaurant, so it was very much like old times. We passed around some pictures, took some new ones, and promised to e-mail the new ones to each other. The great part is that it’s a promise that will actually be kept. Digital photography makes it so much easier to keep promises like that. I wish that we could have sat around for another couple of hours, but unfortunately, some people still have jobs to go back to . . .

And then my dear friend from high school came into town to celebrate his birthday this weekend. It’s a tradition for him to celebrate milestone birthdays with one particular friend of his (I won’t reveal which birthday) because their birthdays are so close together. He loves to see his old neighborhood and reminisce. He had told me well in advance that he was coming, and then he sent me a card with the phone number of his hotel. I don’t think that he actually believed that I would call, but I did. But when he said, “Let’s go to lunch,” that’s when I balked. But he came up with what he believed to be the perfect solution: he would bring pizza from the best neighborhood pizza parlor to my house and we could just talk. What a sweetie. How to tell him that my house is a disaster, and I am too embarassed to let anyone see it? But then he reminded me that he is a mail carrier, and he regularly sees hoarders’ houses on his routes: newspapers stacked floor to ceilings with only pathways through, and cats and cat smells. My house is not even nearly that bad. I relented, and I’m so glad that I did. We spent a wonderful few hours talking about nothing and everything, and being the kind of person that he is, he really did understand my growing discomfort with being around crowds.

I’m writing about these two separate events for several reasons: First, it really was incredible to see these people again and spend some time with them, even if it was just a bit of an afternoon. These were people who meant something to me, each in their own way, and still do. But more importantly, it made me realize something about myself: I can still be comfortable around people who matter to me, no matter where it is. Corey has become concerned, as have I (if I am to be honest) that I am allowing myself to become too addicted to my comfort zones, so much so that I do not want to travel beyond them. In my situation, having finished school now and being on disability, it would be very easy to spend all of my time at home, writing on the computer, floating in the pool, and reading in bed. That way, I wouldn’t have to encounter the masses at Wal Mart on Saturday who test my patience. I wouldn’t have to get behind the wheel and deal with Hampton Roads’ drivers who, for some reason, drive five miles below the speed limit. In other words, I wouldn’t have to deal with reality.

And as we all know, as tempting as that prospect may be, it isn’t really living, is it? One of my jobs, believe it or not, was as a sales manager at Dillard’s, and that meant dealing with the public constantly, and contrary to what some people believe, I was good at it. I was very good with the people who came into our store, even if I had been there since 8 that morning, and it was 9 o’clock at night and I had been wearing high heels all day. Several of my jobs have had the element of working with the public, and I have always managed to do that part of my job well. Granted, everyone has bad days, but you never let your clients see that. I once sold one of my repeat clients $1200 worth of the new Ralph Lauren line off the rack before it had even been put out yet. Of course, since I was the manager by then, I gave the sale to one of my associates, but it was still fun that my old client had sought me out.

Could I do that now? I’m not sure. It takes a lot of patience for one thing, and a lot of stamina for another. I don’t believe that I have either any more. Maybe the patience, but definitely not the stamina, and I think that’s why I’m so reluctant to go places–it’s that whole idea of being a burden that really grates on me. Sometimes, when Corey and I do go out, and I am having such a nice time being out of the house, I push it, but then I pay for it by being completely wiped out for days afterwards. Part of it is my back, and part of it is the fibromyalgia. But if you were to ask me if it was worth it, I would say yes. Buying plants at Lowe’s versus looking at the four walls of my bedroom? Yes, it was worth it.

I’m not ready to be sedentary. It just seems like it sometimes. I just need a little push, and maybe a car to drive that my 17-year-old son hasn’t trashed. My Izzie Trooper just isn’t what she used to be, full of boy stuff and smelling of Axe. But that’s another story.