Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Calling me Impatient is Totally Unfair

Ever since the car hit me on my bike and put me in the hospital, my friends have been calling me impatient. Friends, they call themselves. They tell me I'm lucky to be alive. Don't they know I'm far more afraid of being crippled than being dead? They tell me I'm lucky I didn't get a personality change. But in the same breath, they tell me they wish I'd become more patient.

Now that I'm home, they offer to do things for me, like go to the grocery store. I give them a list. Three days later they show up with part of the list in a sack. I'm grateful to have what they brought. I can't carry a sack of groceries. The weight might undo the collar bone repair and besides my left arm has become weak. I can't start rehab until the bone knits. I get my next x-ray next Monday. If you ask me, I'm being incredibly patient. I didn't even nag them for the groceries sooner.

But friends haul out old lists of things they think I did in the past that they think were impatient. Okay, yes, I have complained when other people don't meet their agreed deadlines. Yes, I have complained when a painter I hired hadn't finished a month after his agreed completion time. Yes, I have complained when editors don't respond to my manuscript submissions in six months, or maybe even six weeks. Hey, when I was an editor, I responded within one week. When I have to be late, like I am with formatting my book on magnet activities, because of this auto accident, I notify my publisher. I explain why I'm late and offer a new more realistic due date. I don't just sit quietly and ignore the fact that I have an obligation. It's not hard. It only takes a few seconds.

Yes, I want my body back in working order. I want to bike all over the city, do yoga, lift weights, do my own grocery shopping. Yes, I wish the accident had never happened. That is not being impatient. That is being honest.

Where is this mythical person who gets injured in a car accident and says, "Oh, this is interesting. I wonder what my life will be like now that I have to depend on other people to do basic things for me like haul my laundry to the washing machine? How fascinating that I'm sore and I have dizzy spells when I get up or lie down. And isn't it interesting to see how much I'll sweat while I wait in the 90 degree weather for the bus, and answer strangers' questions about why I'm wearing a sling? This must be what it was like to be a Queen a couple of centuries ago."

Would my friends really rather I found a way to enjoy being waited on? They all keep asking when I can start rehab. They are impatient. But when they do it, it's a good thing. So, now I'm not only inconvenient, I have unpleasant personality traits. Totally unfair!

I'm going to the gym later today and when I catch those stupid digital dragons, I think I've got names for them.

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