Sunday, February 18, 2007

My Impression of a Hermit Crab

I feel like I’m pulling away, pulling away from everyone, becoming my own little hermit in my own little place. I am not enjoying being by myself as much as I thought I would, not because I’m lonely though. Loneliness was an issue for a couple of days, but once I got beyond that, I really started to embrace my aloneness. Now I feel like if I could just live in my little house all by myself without anybody bothering me I would be happy for a while (kind of like Kevin in Home Alone) and that eventually I would come back around and crave contact with my loved ones (again like Kevin), but not right now. Right now I want the freedom to jump up and down on the bed, eat junk food, watch trash on TV (oh, go watch Home Alone and you’ll see what I’m talking about). I even get a kick out of doing the dishes for myself after my highly nutritious microwavable meal each night. So what I guess I’m saying is that this 45-year-old woman is a little too much like an 8-year-old boy from a John Hughes movie.

Whoa. Somehow I got way off target from what this post was supposed to cover. I wanted to cover my current frustration which has been building the last few days. Because I am “all alone” with “nothing to do” people seem to feel free to call me a lot at any time. W and N call at least once a day, most days 2 or 3 times. BJ calls at least once a day. None of this is so very different than before. What is different is that I am not welcoming the escape from work that these phone calls used to herald. Now they are coming in on “my time.” My time to be alone and be me and discover who I am and whether or not I am capable of functioning as an adult.

Now, with a new job it is not practical to receive these calls at work. I understand and can be (somewhat) rational about this. However, when I get home I consider myself to have come home to my sanctuary, my place of rest, my place to be selfish and be me and be alone. Then the phone rings. It is W. He needs to talk to me about the latest crisis du jour. Oh, and while we’re on the phone N would like to say hello. For a boy, N is an incredible talker. I suppose I’ll miss that in a few years when he becomes a sullen teenager and speaks no more than three words a day to me. But for now, he is a talker and talking with him on the phone takes a while because he has a lot to say. And I understand. I really do. He’s an 8-year-old boy who is missing his mom who is living 200 miles away. He needs and deserves my time. Finally, he exhausts his repertoire of topics, and we get off the phone. I unpack the groceries that I set down as I walked in the door to the ringing phone.

Alone at last. BJ hasn’t called yet though. He said he’d call after his appointment. Hmm. I hate to start anything because I know as soon as I do my phone will ring. I’m hungry though and it’s after 6:30 so I start to make dinner. While dinner is in the oven (no, the real oven not the microwave; I actually cooked that night) I think about maybe calling BJ myself, but I don’t want to bother him at an inconvenient time. I’m sure he’ll call when he can. Just as the timer goes off letting me know that my dinner is ready, my cell phone rings. It’s BJ. I take dinner out of the oven while I’m talking to him. Big mistake on my part as I should have left it in the oven to stay warm. I serve it up on a plate and carry the plate to the sofa where I sit down and watch my supper grow cold as I chat with BJ. I like talking to BJ. I really do, and I know that he has other family obligations so I try to take in stride that he is less flexible than I. However, I’m not thrilled that my dinner is cold by the time we get off the phone, but we would have stayed on the phone longer had my land line not rung. I knew it had to be W and/or N so I said quick goodbyes with BJ and answered the other phone while looking longingly at my dinner. It was W. He had forgotten to ask me a question about plans for Saturday. He needed to let other affected parties know whether or not we could make it at a certain time. Yes, that’s fine. This should be a quick call, but no, he wants to chitchat for a while. Finally, I get a little short and ask him if we could talk when I get home the next day. We end our call, and I eat my cold dinner, having missed a good portion of one of my favorite TV shows, and feeling ever so slightly put out.

Selfish or not, I want me some “me time.” Selfish or not, I would sure like it if when people called they asked if this is a good time for me or not. Selfish or not, I would very much appreciate being able to have a little control over the timing and length of these calls. Because it feels selfish to me I do not assert myself and tell those who are calling that it isn’t convenient to talk, or that I have groceries to put away, or dinner to eat. No, instead I do what I always do, suffer in silence, brood about it, get cranky.

Bad, bad Trueself. Ask for what you want and what you need. Stop letting the fear that people won’t like you drive everything you do. If they really aren’t going to like you because you want to eat a hot meal or put the ice cream away before it melts then they are pretty shallow and don’t deserve you anyway.

I know, I know. Shut up now please. I want to go be by myself for a bit. Thanks for understanding.


freebird said...

(Whispers so as not to disturb) Might one suggest an answering machine?

Rob said...

Yes, get thee an answering machine asap so that you don't miss important calls but that also allows you the option to answer callers at a time that is convenient to YOU, not just to them. Don't be a slave to the phone and feel that you must *always* answer every call when the phone rings. Bon appetit! :-)

Val said...

I know where you're coming from on the "I Vanta Bee Alone" front...
I always have such tremendous plans for accomplishing various tasks on my "free weekends" (i.e. weekends w/out Z), but usually little to nothing happens. [buckle down w/a solemn vow to WRITE MY OWN POST]

Karin's Korner said...

I so agree with everyone else. Even if you do not get an answering machine, if you are busy just don't answer the phone. If it is important they will call back later and if it is not important then you did not want to speak with them anyway. Also, I am sure it is hard with you leaving when you did and BJ still at the homefront.

Serenity said...

For a chick who doesn't like the phone you do pick up a lot. Get call display. Learn to control the phone, not be controlled by it. then extend that sense of control to other situations. Dudes can learn to leave messages.

trueself said...

To all those who suggested an answering machine, yes I suppose that would be a good idea EXCEPT for a couple of problems with that.

1. If I let it go to the answering machine when I'm home W and N would worry about why I'm not home and if I'm okay. Then they would call my cell phone. If they didn't get an answer there either they'd be convinced they needed to call hospitals, police, etc.
2. Since I do much better at answering calls than making them I'm better off just answering when it rings than letting it go to the machine to have to return the call later.

Serenity - See #2 above. I think that explains it.

oldbear said...

Dear Truey:

I am sorry you are getting no alone time while you are alone :-(

But OTOH, its great to be wanted and needed!! :-)

I have found that its easier to tell the truth, eg, "I just sat down to eat, can I call you right back". which in yor case might be modified to, "......Call me back in 15 minutes please?"

Dont worry, you will get in a groove of living there, its just going to take time for ALL you all to adjust!

Emily said...

It must be terrible to be in so much demand :-)

Actually, I'm confused about why N is calling - is he going to be living with W?