So despite the fact we now have a woman in our house, life in many ways, is just the same.
She is still organised, meticulous and a lover of obsessive routine. She is still random, surprising and unfathomable.
So when she lost her bus pass to college it was a massive deal. She doesn’t lose things. She doesn’t break things. She can be clumsy and awkward but she tries to go gently through the world because in the end to be calm and unnoticed is much easier for her soul.
Her bus pass and the journey it allows her to take is a big chunk of the many chunks into which her day is apportioned. It is a vital component in her public armor.
And she lost it. Her pass is only ever kept in one place. Her bag. It is fixed there. It has it’s own holder and it never goes anywhere else. But it wasn’t there now.
She discovered this 10 minutes before her bus was due to arrive. 10 minutes in which white hot terror descended. 10 minutes which it took me to get to the bus stop to scoop her up and calm her. 10 minutes to get her in my car and drive her to college.
She went into a loop of obsession and remorse and anger on that journey. Going over and over and over again how this vital link may have got removed from the chain of her day. By the time I got her to college (even earlier than the meandering bus route would have delivered her) – she was in an infinite spiral of obsession.
Eventually after some time, we managed to clear the mists and break through by focusing in on a list of things she needed to do to get another. Not a complex list but nevertheless a list full of chasms of unpredictability and doubt. This is how she saw it:
1. Go to admin office and tell them you need a new pass.
The Rose’s possible outcomes:
A) They ask why I lost it
B) They think I am a bad person
C) They ask me something I haven’t rehearsed an answer to
Next – given that none of the above happens.
2. Get a temporary pass
The Rose’s possible outcomes:
A) I have never seen or heard of a temporary bus pass so it cannot exist. Mum is lying. I will be lost and stuck here forever
B) If it is temporary it is not permanent and will therefore stop at a time hitherto unknown to me. This is worrying and uncertain. I want nothing to do with a temporary anything
C) I want a real bus pass. This additional process of a getting a temporary one is a massive stress I do not need or want
Next – given that the temporary pass is obtained without a hitch
3. Get a new pass
The Roses’s possible outcomes:
A) The new pass is a trick and will not work as well as the old ‘real’ one
B) It will get lost again and I cannot bear another day like this
C) It will be new and therefore not fit into my world
PLUS – other things going on in my head,,,,
I need to know exactly how long it will take to come and if I have the right amount of cash from Mum to buy it (no small change see here for the problem with that).
I don’t know why I lost it in the first place so I can’t stop it happening again therefore the new pass is not a solution at all it’s a reminder of this new problem which has come into my life. I hate myself for losing it. I am a bad person.
In the end it all went well. I called college and they put their own version of a private detective in place to stalk and track the progress of the new pass and The Rose around college. It took two days.
I called her from work on the day she got the new pass. She had got home just fine but was still in a state of agitation.
“Yes Mum I got the new pass but I can’t talk to you now I am looking for my pass.”
“But The Rose you don’t need it you have the new one”
“Stop, I have too many things going on in my head and I just need to keep looking”
“OK Rose but you don’t need to worry now, you have the new pass. It’s a waste of your day to keep looking for the lost one”.
“Mum stop messing me, I have to look until it is worn out and small. Don’t ask anymore questions. I have to go”
When I got home she’d eaten a lot of ice cubes (her single most favourite way to keep calm) and found £10 in a jewellery box.
“No buss pass Mum but I can buy a Chicken Caesar wrap tomorrow to eat on the bus on the way home”
Phew… all’s right with our world.