I'm one who plans, so I figured it was best to preempt the event. If I plan for trauma, and have a plan of attack, then I'll be one step ahead of the game. Behold, my midlife logic! Expect! Divert! Win!
(Ain't it funny that I thought this midlife business a game? Super funny. Har har. Har!)
And so it was, that I planned to play tennis. When the crisis crashed, I'd hire a coach, find a pal and play the tennis. The problem, however, is that this plan requires that the player have calves that don't tear. My current predicament of chronic calf-tearing is a primary problem among two groups of doers: 1) runners, and 2) tennis players. I did not pick a winning plan.
Averted! Destroyed! Sticks-in-all-the-spokes! Strings-not-strung!
So no running and no tennis. Boo.
I did the next best thing, and that was to see a therapist. Sheryl the Shrink, I'll call her, because that's what she calls herself on her computer login. "Sheryl the Shrink! Help!" I said. On her couch. "I'm super sad because I lost my best friend named Running and now I mope about all the day long day and am miserable and have lost all of my mojo and I'm a total killjoy now and I need help and I feel like I need something I dunno maybe I should go to school but golly I don't know..."
Insert record scratch noise here.
"Hold on, hold on, hold ON!" said Sheryl the Shrink. "I'm liking this idea of school. That's a great idea."
"Hold on, hold on, hold ON!" I said back. "I was only kidding. I don't know where that came from. Mulligan. That is not a great idea."
Sheryl the Shrink took her readers off (that is, her glasses used for reading) chewed on the corner of said glasses, entertained a smirk, and enlisted the silence.
For those of you who have never been to therapy, I'll let you in on a little secret. Most of this therapy discovery crap occurs during the silence. The silence, you see, somehow gets you thinking and talking at the same time, and before you know it, you've solved your own problem. Which makes me wonder why the hell this doesn't work when The Spouse gives me the same enlisted silence. I think it's because I didn't pay him money for the silence in the first place, and maybe, just perhaps, that if I paid him for some blessed silence every now and again I could solve my own problems. I can see it now. Hand him a Benjamin and holler a vehement "Shut up so I can solve my problems!"
Strangely enough, and as if my possession, I found myself retrieving transcripts, paying application fees, reading a University of Utah stationaried "hurray yer in!" and attending a transfer-student orientation. It was July. I sat down at a round table next to five young-ins, 18+ years my junior, and looked around. I wasn't sure how I got there. I don't even remember driving myself. I slid into my chair, slowly, and began to curse the blasted silence of Sheryl the Shrink.
Orientation was the typical orientation, with the exception of the sex ed lecture from the health center services (or whatever it is they're calling themselves now). For upwards of a complete hour, two finely dressed women, ten years my junior, proceeded to lecture us all on the definition of "consent." I can sum up this whole business of consent with a few simple sentences: "say no when you mean no" and "when someone says no they mean no." Also, "make sure your body language matches your no."
The funny thing about this sex-ed lesson – other than the fact that it was the only time anyone paid attention – was that I looked around and noted the number of married individuals in the room and snickered. We married folk have no problem saying no. Some of us even have one of those nighty housecoat wonders with a bold "NOT TONIGHT." In Helvetica.
Three hours and two pieces of cardboard pizza later I had spoken to the advisor, toured the library, declared a major, and registered for three classes.
What's my major, you say? Writing and Rhetoric Studies. Gonna learn to write fer reals now. Made it through a whole semester.
I have stories.