Today I planned to take Rob to a library event for teens. I was out on errands and forgot all about it, arriving home to Rob saying, "Um, the library thing?"---20 minutes after it had started. I was mortified: this taps into several horrors at once, including Horror of Being Late and Horror of Not Following Through (we'd r.s.v.p.'d) and Horror of Forgetting Something Until After It Starts. It was hard to decide which was worse: showing up late, or not showing up. I took him there anyway, despite my instinct to hide and cower and pretend it hadn't happened. And it was great: the librarian said they were counting on late-shows anyway for some other reason, and Rob had a great time, and I felt so good about our decision.
Another parent in Edward's class called me to find out which teacher Edward had for 1st grade. But she didn't say her child was in Edward's class, because she didn't know Edward was a twin, so she just said that "our kids" were in kindergarten together. So at one point, when she asked who the first grade teacher was, I had to say, "Oh, um...was your son in Edward's class, or in Elizabeth's?" and she said, a little confused, "...Edward's." And later I realized she'd at one point said the name of Edward's and her son's kindergarten teacher, so I could have avoided the whole awkward thing by a method known as Figuring It Out From Other Clues, if I hadn't been so nervous about talking on the phone that all my brain function was concentrating on Not Dying. But she is probably not even thinking of that now, while I'm replaying it and cringing.
Another parent called shortly afterward to find out the same thing, and I didn't answer the phone because I was putting Henry to bed. I should have just called her back, especially after the relative success of the call I'd taken (it went really well except for that one awkward moment). But I couldn't do it, so I found her email address and emailed her back. "Crutch" has come to be a disdainful word, but that fails to take into account its usefulness in the case of a bum leg.
I took a writing job. Then, after I accepted it, a detail was added: it would involve talking on the phone. I spent two hours telling myself I am not totally unable to handle a phone call: look, I just talked to someone on the phone a few minutes ago, and I only made one blunder and it was of the sort probably she is not even thinking about now. A normal working person can occasionally handle working on the phone, even if it's a corded phone that won't reach to the computer. This is not impossible even if it feels impossible. Perhaps my mother could babysit all the children or something; I could email her and figure out a schedule, and then go buy a cordless phone.
Then I thought of the situation instead as one in which I wouldn't be involved at all if it had mentioned phone work to begin with. Only one child was home when I took that other phone call, and even so it was a struggle to talk while keeping him quiet. And...I don't WANT to take a job that involves the telephone, and that seems like an okay thing to choose, like choosing not to work in fast food. So I chose not to take the job, since it was a different job than the one I'd accepted. It's hard to tell when something is "backing away from a fear" and when it's "knowing one's limitations / not accepting a contract that changed after it was signed."
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...