Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Karen, Mighty Procrastination Queen

Do you remember the post about getting an SU ID card? So I could take a class? Classes start next week and I haven't even begun to look at the catalogue to find something to take. Do you remember the post about a new tattoo? We didn't stop in Baltimore on the way home. The gift certificate is lost and it expired at the end of December. I contacted the artist and he is cool with doing it this month, but I've still got to actually get my ass down there. And, um, find the damn certificate. It's been almost a month since I've posted last, I've begun a half dozen posts in my head and none of them have gotten further than a few sentences down on the computer. Procrastination is my art form, I don't think it would be bragging to call myself a master.

I can hear my old shrink in my head asking what the payoff is for my bad behavior. The list is long. Proof that I'm a lazy fuck is at the top. Yes, I've always thought the mental illness was a big fat excuse. I've always known I was worthless. The more I procrastinate the truer that is. Fear is a big one. Life is going pretty well right now. Trying something new could really rock the boat. Or I could discover I couldn't hack whatever I want to tackle. I'm better off not knowing I'd be a failure. Shouldering more responsibility might crush any productivity I've got going now right out of me. There are so many compelling reasons to keep procrastinating.

We got a new car at the end of March. It is standard transmission. The timing was perfect for me to learn how to drive it. Spring was arriving and the snow was melting. I'd have good weather to learn, be all set before snow started in the fall, and be able to help with the drive down south for the holidays with our families. I mean, I had nine fucking months to learn to drive the thing. The week before the trip Z told me I'd have to figure it out on the highway. He was only half joking. And I was seized with terror. That week I convinced myself that I would cause an accident and kill my children. Yes, I recognize that I have a ridiculous and over active imagination. Knowing it doesn't ease the dread. We got into the car on December 19th as I was having a crippling anxiety attack. Z told me to take a chill pill. I sat in the front seat and tried not to cry as we drove south. Midway through Pennsylvania I screwed up the courage to tell Z I couldn't drive. I couldn't put our boys at risk. I wasn't scared of driving on the highway, I was scared of stopping during a traffic jam and not being able to start. I was scared of sudden stops period. I was scared to navigate the roads off of the highway when we stopped for gas or food. I was scared to drive at night.

One of my favorite things about Z is that when I am in a flat out panic, when I really fall apart, he makes me feel loved. He always tells me he is on my side, and it is true. He promised I didn't have to drive. He promised we would stop at a hotel if he could no longer drive safely. He asked why I didn't just tell him all this sooner. And he told me that when we arrived at my folks we would take the car out every single day, because there was built in childcare, and there would be enough time for me to learn how to drive before we started the next leg of the trip.

It wasn't easy or pleasant, but Z is a teacher by trade. At the end of our visit I drove the 3 hours from my folks place to Greenville, SC to meet friends for lunch. And in the middle of the big drive home I drove another 3 hours to spell Z. Now this isn't some fabulous victory story. My driving ended for the day when I almost got the car stuck in mud off of a dirt road. Don't ask. Z just gently suggested I get out of the drivers seat and let him get the car back on the road. I was super impressed that we didn't need to call AAA. And even now the thought of driving that car makes my palms get all sweaty and my stomach cramp. Now that we are home I proposed the four of us take a car trip at least once a week with me driving, but we'll see if that actually happens.

A dear friend sent me an email out of the blue recently, telling me s/he wanted to be more like me because I was learning new things and facing my problems. I felt like such a fraud. I have two days to get my ass in gear and figure out how to register for a class. I need to figure out the tattoo thing before all that money we can't afford to lose disappears. I need to learn how to drive the damn car proficiently. I need to stop being scared to look at our bank account and address that we spend more than we earn. And all this stuff makes me want to curl up on the sofa and watch an NCIS marathon while pretending that the real world doesn't exist. How could anyone want to be more like me?

My fab sisters-in-law gave us the idea for the sign. It's pretty clear how I feel about getting behind the wheel, huh?

The Cordano sisters and kiddos during part one of the trip. 

The extended Leonard clan on New Years day. Photo by the ever amazing Ellie Leonardsmith.


  1. Ok, the more you drive the better you will be. Nuff said. And if the course is free, who the f**k cares if you don't like it? You are getting too involved in the what ifs and not the WTF. Do they have a baking course? You could do that easily...

  2. I learned to drive stick in LA and I had to wing it. There are all kinds of hills in Hollywood. Not like SF, but they are there. My big stick driving claim to fame was when I drove into some huge nightclub parking lot to turn around and it was slanted. I had to turn the car around but every time I took my foot off the clutch the car would inch backwards. Slowly moving closer and closer to a giant black Mercedes sedan. I was so scared of crashing into it. Well I was now blocking the entrance in and out of this parking lot and looked the most retarded blonde moment driver ever. When out of the club comes my savior. This guy sees what is happening and walks right up to me and says..."Just learn to drive stick"? I turn to say yes and when I looked up it was Val Kilmer. 1994 Val Kilmer. Looked like 'Jim Morrison' era Val Kilmer. He smiled and told me to get out and hopped in my car and turned it around and said to me "It is a marriage between the clutch and the gas petal. Just move them back and forth until you find that spot, that marriage and you will get it. And I did. Every time I needed to switch gears or stop at a light, I thought about that marriage and I got it. Now I prefer driving stick and Val Kilmer freaking moved my car! It was such a Hollywood moment.