The good news is that I haven’t gone stark bonkers.
The even better news is that Ava hasn’t. That’s what I dreaded most when I learned that in addition to having a non-working ankle I had a non-working (or at least unsafe) vehicle and was going to be housebound for some unknown time.
Can’t walk. Can’t drive. Can’t exercise the pooches. Arrrrgh. Dogs bouncing off walls. Ava giving me the guilt-trip eye. So I feared.
Surprisingly, though, the dogs have completely accepted being confined to the house and their little 18 x 24 fenced yard. A few sessions a day with one of her various ChuckIts (indoor or out) has kept Ava pacified.
Me, I’m not so easy to pacify. I find sitting around applying heat and creams and massage to my stupid ankle ridiculous. Hobbling around in a fracture boot feels like overkill. The whole business of nursing something as minor as a hairline fracture feels like the doings of a pathetic, self-centered hypochondriac. Until the moment I decide to get up and do things, at which point both the ankle and my medical friends remind me it’s necessary for at least a couple more weeks.
My leg hurts when I stand. My butt hurts from too much sitting. My back aches either way. Mostly my brain hurts.
We’re making another try at fixing the Xterra on Thursday. If that works, I’ll at least have that form of mobility again. If not … well, I’ll get more used to being a slug.
Temporary immobility. It’s nothing. Not like spending life in prison or being in an iron lung. Not like being stuck in a wheelchair. Or for that matter, not even as confining as a bad job or a bad marriage.
Nevertheless, it requires coping skills.
Now, as a professional keyboard warrior of course I can just sit here and blart away, but I don’t kid myself that extra hours of surfing and snarking are either beneficial or entertaining.
So after binge-watching a season of Orange is the New Black, all six hours of the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth as the definitive Mr. Darcy) in an afternoon, the entire Harry Potter series (twice), and reading every book in the house … what next?
First, I tell myself, “Oh, get over it. This is hardly the worst thing in the world.”
This is akin to our mothers’ old claim that “children in India are starving,” but works slightly better because it doesn’t provoke the rejoinder, “Well, then you can send them these stinky brussels sprouts!”
I tell myself that a writer who can’t go anywhere has a huge advantage over, say, a burger flipper who can’t drive to work and gets fired, a ballet dancer who can’t dance, or crossing guard who can’t stand on his feet.
It helps. Every little bit helps.
Then there’s the process of psyching myself past mere acceptance and into an embrace of these momentary limitations. You’re a hermit, Claire. Use those skills. Use this time. I envision myself as a cloistered nun with high walls as a sanctuary, not a prison. But cloistered nuns have gardens to waft around in, ora et labora (and who knew somebody even made a board game out of that) and above all something transcendent to believe in. Try though I might, the most mystical thing I can manage is watching a DVD of The Song of Bernadette. Makes me blubber like a baby every time. But never gets me a millimeter closer to Great Truths.
Okay, so much for spiritual.
How ’bout creative? But no. I’m dry. I’m empty. It’ just ain’t there. It’s all lost in my foot and down there somewhere in my car engine.
How ’bout this, then? Think of yourself as a cranky old eccentric who really, really likes, who really, really enjoys never stepping out of her house.
Uhhhh …. no.
Finally … I quit trying. I embrace the boredom and futility. I come out the other side. Emerge with just that much more serenity, that much more ability to be still, that much more security in the helpfulness of friends, that much more humility in asking small favors, that much more dirt on your fingers from snagging stray tennis balls.
And this, too, shall pass.