The end of solitude

My husband and kids giving their Adams family look while visiting our daughter for a swim meet in college.

My quiet weekend alone ended in a flurry of phone calls Sunday afternoon, causing my anxiety to escalate. Poof! I lost the sense of peace just like that.

I was getting inundated with calls from my daughter, my husband, my son and two close friends. From my end, I felt like everybody was venting to me. My daughter was upset with my husband. My husband didn’t understand why our daughter was angry and crying. I wasn’t there so I felt helpless but wanted everyone to be happy.

Then my husband called again and said our daughter took him to the airport, but he was worried about the kids returning the U-haul. He didn’t have the time to do it himself before his flight home. He said the U-haul was difficult to drive, had poor visibility and that it had to be returned quite a distance away on the freeway.

So I took that burden of worry, too. I waited anxiously to hear that the kids returned it and were safely back in their homes.

I juggled with an onslaught of calls. Hanging up on one person to answer the call of another. Calling the person back that I hung up on, so they weren’t offended.

I was looking at news stories on my laptop and read there was a bomb threat and the campus had been evacuated where my son’s girlfriend’s brother was at school. I called my son to let him know. There were three campuses with bomb threats yesterday. Reading the news definitely wasn’t helping me.

The topper was the call back from my son. He said he and his sister were on the side of the freeway with a flat tire. They got the U-haul returned without a hitch, but then had a a blow out on the way back. My daughter was worried she was going to miss her comedy writing class that was scheduled to begin soon. They called AAA and were waiting for the tow truck.

Then my husband called from the Phoenix airport upset because he couldn’t find where he had parked the car after searching for 45 minutes. I took that to mean that it was my fault because I didn’t want to drive him there or pick him up. To be honest, I’m terrified of the freeways here. There are accidents every time I’ve been on them. And always someone driving 100 MPH weaving in and out of traffic. People drive crazy here. My daughter lived here for a year and she said she’d see five wrecks on her drive from Tempe to Scottsdale for work — every single day.

By the time my husband got home, my nerves were fried. I called to check on the kids and they were okay. They were safely back in their homes 700 feet apart. I tried to read and sat outside in the backyard missing the quiet happy feeling that I had bathed in only hours earlier. The peace that defined my weekend vanished as though it was a desert mirage.

Then Monday morning came and my husband woke up with the flu. I called the kids and they said that one of my son’s housemates had the flu. Ugh. I should stay in the casita and turn my phone off. I hope I’m not next for the flu. I haven’t been sick since February 2020.

On to tackle my Monday and back to NaNoWriMo.

Any suggestions on how to handle phone calls where things seem to be spiraling out of control? How do you not let other people’s problems become yours?

The bus stop

Sunrise from my bedroom window
Sunrise this morning.

I got up early today because I had an appointment at the car dealership at 7:30 a.m. There’s a recall on our car. It was at risk of catching on fire, so I took the first appointment I could get.

My husband and I went for a walk in our neighborhood at 6:15 a.m. and I saw something that disturbed me greatly. At our little park a few blocks from our house there were a dozen kids waiting for the bus. They were all looking down at the their phones and nobody was talking to each other. They were all about six feet apart and I guess that’s a good thing? But the lack of interest in each other and their focus on their phones bothered me. They all looked very depressed.

What the heck is this generation going to be like in a few years? I know my kids hate to make phone calls. They never pick up the phone without trying to use a webpage, email or text first. But when they are around their peers, they don’t ignore each other. They joke and have fun together. They light up.

When I was a kid, I also had to walk to a bus stop. I walked with my brother and we’d laugh and talk and kick a rock during the quarter mile walk. Then we’d chat with the other kids at our bus stop. On the bus, we’d all be talking, laughing or singing songs.

I found this group of kids so depressing to see. They seemed isolated. Alone. Glued to their phones. I wonder if this is a result of the COVID shut down? Or, would they be like this anyway? Any thoughts? Have you noticed kids acting like this, too?

cloudy day in Arizona neighborhood
View from our neighborhood on a cloudy day.

I guess the good news is they are going to school in person, right? Maybe it’s the start of a new school year and they’re not happy?