Monday, May 05, 2003

Coping with Natural Forces

Last week I went through an earthquake, a tornado, and thick blankets of fog.

The earthquake woke me up Monday at 5 in morning. It was weird, because I actually woke up and thought “It’s an earthquake” but then thought “This is Georgia, it’s a semi in the neighborhood.” As I drifted back to sleep, I wondered why anyone would drive tractor-trailers through my neighborhood at the crack of dawn. I was so preoccupied with other recent events that the fact an actual earthquake shook me awake didn’t even register surprise the next day.

I drove through the tornado – actually, the hailstorm surrounding the tornado – Friday night. I had to get to Nashville to pick up my sister, and the hail was big enough that there are little dents on the top of my car now. The second half of the trip on the way back to Atlanta was slow, as a blanket of fog sat on Georgia so thick that I could hardly see 20 yards in front of me with the headlights on.

I drove 11 hours in 20, to Nashville, back from Nashville, after a few hours rest then to Augusta. There was a wedding. My aunt asked me if I planned on getting married at 40 or 50. I talked about the weather.

Today is the last day at the archive from hell. It took me 6 months to get this job, and I’m leaving it voluntarily after just 4 months. It’s no one’s fault, really; this place had never had an archivist before, and my position was poorly defined at best. I had no management, and I disliked my lone co-worker enough to quit before I had another position secured. I need the money, it’s true, but I just couldn’t force myself to cope anymore.

I have a hard time dealing with crazy people. Just Sunday an unstable relative accused me of going into her room, a place I haven’t put my big toe into since the last time she whacked out on me 6 months ago. Rather than cussing at the unstable person, I just grabbed my keys and left, drove off, told everyone goodbye and left. I was angry and confused and tired, and had reached my limit for dealing for the weekend.

When I got back to my house, I told my cousins why I had left the rest of the family in such a rush. And Audrey got justifiably irritated with me.

“You’ve got to learn to deal with this kind of thing, Elizabeth. You need to stay and tell people to go to hell. You need to resolve things rather than just leaving mad. If you just keep running every time someone goes nuts on you, you’ll just keep coming home like this, all angry and tense. You’ve got to get some resolution. What are you afraid of? That they’re going to get physical on you? All that kind of person does is stalk off and sulk, leaving you alone. Instead you leave, which is just what they wanted. You’re letting them get their way.”

It’s true. I am letting crazy people get the better of me. And maybe I am afraid they’ll get physical on me. I don’t know how to deal with grown-ups who just make shit up. I don’t know how to deal with much of anything lately – and there’s a lot to deal with.

My cat is probably dying. I spent $150 at the vet last week trying to find out why he throws up a clear fluid. The blood tests say his hormone levels are elevated, but without a lot more treatment – and money – I won’t know why.

My middle sister has some of the ten million problems that come with being 15, problems bad enough to win her an entire summer in isolation with my grandfather. It’s the only way we could figure out how to keep her away from trouble.

My youngest sister is coming to town soon, and expects me to have a fabulous apartment.

Ron and Dinan expect me to have a fabulous apartment.

My plan says I need to have a fabulous apartment.

I have about half the money I thought I’d have, and no job.

Tomorrow I plan on curling up into a tight little ball in my room, and thinking as hard as I can about how to make things work out according to my plans. Then I’m going to clean, work on various projects, and register with a temp agency.

And spend a lot of time with my cat.

Friday I’ll see Ford in Oak Ridge, and then a lot of my friends way up in the mountains. Sunday and Monday I’ll hang out with Ron and Dinan. Monday is Audrey’s birthday. Friday is my Aunt Laura’s.

This whole month makes me want to throw up a mysterious clear liquid, just like my cat. And we’re only 5 days into May.

At least I'm on a creative tear; check out my half-assed blog on my newest project over here

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