When I got my iPhone a couple of months ago, I abandoned the phone number, parked in Kansas City, that I'd had for about 10 years. Liberating.I still type that old number when I'm filling out forms online or scheduling an appointment — I have to scratch out the 913, rewind and start again with 312 — and I wrongly assume that no one else will have the same problem. Day one. New number. COMMIT IT TO MEMORY. Oh. No? In that case, I can only imagine how many people have dialed my number and left a voicemail for me that will never be returned. Including my therapist, who was busy having a baby when I switched phones.
I'd e-mailed her when I got the new number, but with babies rolling around all over the place, trying to keep up with them, lose the baby weight and contemplate the avalanche of emotional distress that awaited her upon her return to her practice, I never expected her to actually remember that. So, with a week left until the end of her maternity leave — this should be a national holiday, by the way — I called her from work to leave her a reminding her of my new number. And she picked up. There were children howling in the background. (My problems never seemed so small.) It feels a little bizarre that her voice was so soothing and familiar to me, but there it is. The angst and tension of my yeah-it's-just-another-Wednesday melted as our conversation went on; my shoulders relaxed as I punched my first appointment of 2010 into Google Calendar and clicked "Save."
We have much to discuss, she and I. (That sentence, I think, was about as grammatically incorrect as it could possibly be. I don't care.)
These past few months have not been easy. Just as I assumed everyone would just…commit my new number to memory, I also wrongly assumed life would be smooth sailing after that hell of a holiday season. But, as it turns out, the flip of a calendar page does not a fresh start make. The numbers change, but situations don't. Not always. It's not that easy. Love and sex. The frightening prospect of life without both. Medication and the reality of life without it. Jobs. Money. Can't have one without the other. Friendships. Up and down. Weight gain and exhaustion. I went through one tunnel with a promising light at the end, but I was faced with yet another trademark suburban traffic jam when I emerged, six lanes wide, jammed with cars full of miserable people. The heat of their idling engines made the winter air quiver. Small gains, huge disappointments. Writer's block: Much to say but no words to express it. A total loss of self — and the struggle to get it back without losing something else really important. Life hasn't been all roadblocks and frustrations, but I'd hoped, after all the challenges of 2009, that 2010 might cut me a break.
We have much to discuss. See you on Thursday.