Making peace with your inner idiot
Have you ever felt “undead”? This is not the opposite of alive – it’s the “no-man’s-land” where you don’t fit in anywhere. No? Okay, how about discombobulated? Where you get that feeling that you have absolutely no idea of what to do so you start doing things that don’t make any sense but you feel better because at least you’re doing something? Yeah, I got you there.
Being the mentally stable and organized individual that I am, I have only had this feeling a few times in my life. When my good friend Lisa Schmagenbuch called to tell me her contractions had started and she needed my assistance in the delivery room, well, that was one of them. This was not sudden or unexpected – it had been the plan for at least six months. Lisa and her husband Dave were relying on me to be the experienced rock of knowledge in their time of uncertainty.
Nothing surprised me more when, after Lisa called to let me know her labor was starting, I turned to my common sense and found it had slipped out the back door. This is not a good thing because standing in its place, grinning like a fool, was what I call, my inner idiot.
Stupid is as stupid does
I have not had good experiences with my “idiot”. She has substance abuse issues, continually has her foot in her mouth, does stupid things just for fun and has an IQ bordering on mentally challenged. Her insults are harsh and usually hit below the belt, and this is just before she kicks you. I have seen her do things that have made me laugh, but mostly made me cry, and I cringe when I see her coming. The worst part – she is extremely strong-willed and fights with her are ugly and never end up in a good place.
Ironically though, I often count on her and I can’t remember a time when she hasn’t been around. I have turned to her on many of occasions; my inner idiot has never said no to me and is at my beck and call. I have heard her described as belligerent – and it’s true, she won’t take no for an answer. She’s obnoxious, rude, and bossy, but she’s been a friend since childhood and there’s a certain comfort in that. Sounds crazy, I know, but (note to my “friend” Bonnie) I am ridiculously loyal to those close to me – whatever their issues – and I am unable (or unwilling) to give my inner idiot up.
Lisa loses her sense of humor
So, there I was, listening to Lisa tell me she and Dave were on the way to the hospital and I should meet them there. But, before I could get a word in, my idiot interrupted and spoke up, “What should I wear?”
I could hear Lisa’s labored breathing in the silence that followed. I sensed that she wasn’t in the mood for jokes, but this was no joking matter. What does one wear to a birthing? This was a legitimate question – I had never attended one.
I waited patiently until she finally caught her breath. “You can’t go wrong with black,” she managed to get out.
“Short or long-sleeves? Practical or casual chic?” I mentally went through my closet.
I could hear Dave in the background urging her to hurry and Lisa, ever the diplomat, suggested that I ask Craig what he thought, as they were in somewhat of a rush.
Craig! I scoffed to myself. He was useless when it came to couture and was color-blind to boot. He would be, let’s see . . . zero amount of help. I called my friend Kelly to ask her what she wore to my third birthing.
But, she didn’t remember and actually had the nerve to say that it wasn’t important. Lisa was counting on my emotional support and I could show up in a sack – I just needed to be there.
It’s hard always being right
I hate it when people don’t do what I want. As a result, a teeny tiny attitude crept in and for the next forty-five minutes I fought it off as I tried on a few different options, finally settling on a cute black number that I had only worn once.
By this time, I was actually feeling (and looking BTW!) great and, with brownies in hand, drove off into the night. I swung by Starbucks for a latte and arrived at the hospital with plenty of time to spare. After all, this was her first and it would be a long night.
In the dark, the hospital looked way different. I had been there recently, twice in the past two years for my own births, but they had moved the parking garage or torn it down or covered it up and I couldn’t find it. Northwest Community is a big hospital and the streets that circle it are all either one way or dead ends and I became increasing frustrated as I passed the emergency room for the third time.
“My God,” I shouted out to a doctor that I cut off as he tried to cross the street. “What? You trying to keep the riffraff out?”
“I’m sorry?” He looked at me like I had two heads.
“Where have you put the parking lot?” I yelled.
“It’s always been right there.” He pointed to a structure in front of me. “Are you alright?” he said, faking concern.
“Like you care!” I retorted. I gunned it and flew across a speed bump, my minivan bottoming out as I turned into the parking garage.
I will admit it was at this time that I started getting anxious. It had been almost two hours since I had last spoken to Lisa and I was beginning to feel light-headed. The caffeine was making my heart race and as I drove up and up the parking ramp looking for a space, I wondered why I had ever agreed to deliver this baby. I found a spot on the top outside level and, in the December chill, made my way back down to the first floor and found myself outside the emergency room once again.
The woman at the front desk stopped me with a brusque, “What can I do for you?”
“I’m looking for the maternity ward.”
“Other side of the hospital. Go out the emergency doors and follow the signs. Can’t go in this way.” She pointed her long boney finger out at the cold dark night.
I stuck my tongue out at her and headed back where I had came from. I was now, definitely, discombobulated.
To be continued (one last time-I promise) . . .