I’m waiting for a phone call.

I hate this kind of waiting. It ties my insides into knots. I fidget and try not to focus on the subject I’m waiting to speak about, but it invades every aspect of my consciousness. Butterflies fill my stomach and my heart pounds in my chest.

I tell myself to breathe and try to refocus, but it’s difficult. I get stuck easily. Stuck on the thing bothering me. Stuck on the thing I want to fix. If I can’t resolve the issue or finish the task, I have a hard time moving on to something else. I keep coming back to The Thing. It looms large in my life, raking its whip across my back, demanding all my focus.

Sometimes I go into my room and lay in the dark. I focus on my breathing to make it pass. It doesn’t get this bad as often as it used to. I’m thankful for that. I know how to manage it now, how to bring it under control.

I don’t deal well with uncertainty. I never have. Little stuff will poke at me but big stuff takes me over. Especially if I can’t see an alternative, a fall-back plan, a secondary route to my goal. It consumes me until I find an answer.

The call I am waiting for does not involve anyone’s health. It doesn’t involve a house or a car or any of the big stuff that might normally warrant such anxiety. I’m thankful for that. The call I’m waiting for involves the fate of my computer. It seems like a small thing, a pebble, compared to the others. But for me it’s a mountain. I’m a writer, trying to carve a living for myself with my words. My computer is my life. It’s where I write. It’s how I share my writing. Much of what I do to try to make my living happens on my computer.

My data is safe. I backed it up and I’m thankful for that too.

The first phone call was the worst. I didn’t know if my computer was salvageable and couldn’t see how to replace it. That’s where the butterflies came from. Now I know it is salvageable, but I don’t know the cost. That’s where the gnawing comes from. How much can I justify spending on a three year old laptop? How many more years can I hope to squeeze out of it? Technology always breaks at the worst time.

It might seem like I’m making a mountain out of an anthill. Maybe I am. I can’t help it. I’ve always been this way. Disruptions to my normal routine rock me. Little ones I can handle, but the loss of a computer, the source and support of my productivity, is a big one. A sizable wave if not a tsunami. It’s funny how I can always fix everyone else’s computers but mine always breaks in a way that’s beyond my abilities. As if a loss of time and a test of patience aren’t quite enough of a challenge.

I hate to be in the middle of the storm, tossed by the wind, uncertain where to anchor. I know that it will blow over eventually. That I’ll put it all behind me. That I’ll laugh again and feel grateful that my worries have faded. I’m eager to get there, to the end of the storm, to the looking back in retrospect portion of this part of my life. But the storm is taking a lot longer to pass than I anticipated, and I hate not knowing when it might end.

There is a light in this darkness. Not just that the problem is relatively small, or that the solution will be less than the worst case I came up with even if it’s not the best solution. It’s that I’m not as stuck as I used to be. There was a time in my life where a problem like this one would paralyze me. Where I would spend my entire day stuck on the problem, unable to get past it, even if there was nothing I could do.

Today I feel crippled. I can’t work as efficiently as I want to and it hinders me. But it hasn’t stopped me. I have carved myself a path through the mountain. I am determined not to lay face down in the mud until the storm passes. I am not Rodney McKay curling on the floor of his science lab to wait for death. It might be slow, and it might be difficult, but I refuse to be stopped. I will write. I will work. I will do the absolute best that I can, wading through the puddles and the mountain streams until the rain fades and the path clears.

I’m reminded of the fact that I survived the flooding of the basement of my first house. Immigrating to another country. A whirlwind move to England and an even more whirlwind move back a year later. This storm may feel like everything at the moment, but it is nothing. And if I can do even a tiny bit of dancing in this rain, then I have certainly come a long way.

2 Replies to “Stuck”

    1. Thank you! I did eventually get things sorted. It was kind of a mix of good and bad news :/ Salvaged the computer but had to pay more than expected to do so. Sometimes that’s the best outcome you can hope for ^^;;

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