Today, in the middle of a mega-important business call on my land line, my electricity went out.
Stunned and desperate, I made a flying dive for my cell phone.
But it wasn’t there.
Stumbling over a dog toy that sent me sliding across the kitchen floor in a skid that slammed me against a wall, I speed-hobbled from room to room.
Where in the *%#@ was my @#%&-ing cell phone?! I had just plugged it in right before the business call to re-char—
I had to get back on that call!
My cell was useless. It had died not ten minutes before in the middle of the same call, which is why I was on the land line. I had apologized profusely to Ms. We-Are-Interested-In-Your-Manuscript from Very-Reputable-Publishing-House-X.
My excuse was lame but shorter than detailing the day from hell I’d been having since 4am when my dog Mally, recuperating from major leg surgery and wearing one of those huge funnel things around her head, had rammed into a table, sending a lamp crashing to the floor.
My other dog, MegaDeath, launched into a someone-is-here-and-coming to-kill-us snarl-barking fit. I jumped up out of the deepest, mud-sucking sleep I’d had in weeks and fell into my night stand, then to the floor.
“Nine, one, one!! Nine one, one!!” my mind shouted, as if I could telepath cops to my rescue. I couldn’t see poor Mally tottering around; but I heard the banging as she bumped into everything. I yanked open a drawer in my nightstand, grabbed something big, pushed myself up and stood there holding the weapon above my head, ready to strike. As adrenaline acidified my sleep-fog, I caught a glimpse of the big object in my hand.
It was a dildo.
A gag gift I’d won at a baby shower.
Size “X-man large.”
No, I never used it. And no, it wasn’t big enough to knock anyone unconscious…when used as a club. But I digress. Anyway, this is when I saw poor Mally, standing before me looking terrified.
I dropped Mr. X, and crumpled.
Terror, disorientation, and exhaustion mixed with relief is a powerful amphetamine. So, of course, I could not drift off again. But I had gotten a solid 2.5 hours of sleep, for a grand tally of 16 hours for the week.
And that was just the beginning of my day.
The rest was a traumatic blur of mishaps: Mally attempting to run in the yard — against strict post-surgery vet orders — and me slipping/falling in the steaming pile of poo she’d just made as I chased her…no hot shower water as I shivered through poo-removal…Mally’s stitches unravelling just as I was beginning to…
Oh, the humanity!
No one else was home. The neighbors to the left of me were away on vacation, the neighbors to the right had lost their home to the bank years ago during the economic crash, and no one but wildlife has lived there since. While I had been reveling in the deck privacy that gave me, I now fervently wished those neighbors back – the whole family, each one with their own fully charged smart phone.
I tried to recall the last time I interacted with any of my other neighbors. Do people still have time to commune with neighbors? I really have to look into that…
Slunking dejectedly around my house, foraging for flashlights, candles, my iPad and laptop, I thought about how rarely this happened. My last loss of electricity had been over a year ago. I should be grateful.
But I wasn’t.
I smeared a saucer with some brie, and settled into a cushy sofa in the family room. A glass of merlot in hand, one devoted doggy at my feet, and the other with her funneled head in my lap, I watched the raging storm through my big bay window and awaited the coming darkness that would meld with my mood.
Major drama sigh.
My eyes fell upon one of the many framed photos I have of my travels. It was a picture I took in Ranomafana, Madagascar of some village children there. They were bedraggled, mud-smeared, and I remembered that one of the girls had a serious wound in her forehead which I later heard she died from.
It wasn’t a large wound, but it was deep. I had tried to cleanse it with antibacterial wipes because there was no clean water nearby. I had put Neosporin from my first-aid kit on it. Even as I was doing this, I knew that hole in her forehead was beyond anti-bacterial help. I knew she needed a doctor. But there weren’t any doctors.
There goes my pity party.
I guess we all go through it. The why-me syndrome where we’re convinced that Life is out to get us. Life has deliberately targeted us, hunted us down, smashed us like a bug. And, inevitably, there always comes a helpful soul to remind you of just how lucky you are, how happy you should be with your wonderful life, and how crying in your merlot never solves anything.
Luckily for whoever that would have been, I was unreachable. When you’re drowning in your own crap, Positive Patty is at risk of being punched in her upturned mouth.
I looked down at Mally, who was nudging my hand for more lovin.’ Poor Mally. Hobbling around on three legs, trying to run and play with a gigantic funnel on her head. And that poor little Malagasy girl – every day with no clean water, no doctors, no antibacterial anything – yet, on that day, posing for a picture, her baby brother strapped to her back, a festering wound slowly killing her…
If I could kick myself, I would. Twice. Once with each foot.
What the hell is wrong with me?
I have it all. Clean water, anti-bacterial everything, a specialty doctor for each type of ailment, booze, brie, loving doggies…I even have a big ‘ol dildo for when I’m 93 and can’t get firm cuties any more.
What am I sitting here sulking about?
That editor did call. She is interested in my writing. And tomorrow’s not 2012. She’ll still be there. And (hopefully) still be interested.
Perspective restored, I was free to contemplate my lapse into self-pity. I, of all people, should know better. I’ve experienced so many different types of lack in so many different countries that it my made my own delusion of lack just plain ridiculous.
In this country, we have an overwhelming supply of everything. Just walk down any grocery aisle and try to pick 1 of anything.
Original or Tangy?
Hickory or Smokehouse?
Smoky Bacon, or Sweet-n-Smoky? Honey, Honey & Brown Sugar, or Maple Honey?Jalapeno or Mild? Bourbon & Black Pepper? Maple Mesquite? Kansas City Style? Memphis Style? Texas, Alabama or Louisiana Style?
You get the picture.
Yet, with all that we have, we inevitably want more.
Is advertising to blame? Definitely. But what about our own responsibility to recognize our comparatively enormous blessings, and clamp our mouths shut tight when we feel a why-me escaping?
Easier said than done.
But it can be done. If we look outside ourselves at the bigger picture, a picture of a world of Haves & Have-Nots in which we, by a landslide, are the Haves.
I hung my head, said a silent prayer of thanks to the little Malagasy girl, and got up off my pitying ass to write this post.
If it helps even one person save themselves from a delusional pity-party, this day from hell will have been worth it.
What was your last pity party about?
How did you get out of it?