Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Unacceptable Anxiety

Lizzie has to travel to her school by bus every day. The bus is supposed to arrive at 11 am. Some days, it arrives at 10:50. Other days, it doesn't show up until 11:25.

It's one thing to have Lizzie with me, waiting for the tardy bus, and it's another to be home waiting for her to be delivered at the end of the day. Usually, the bus arrives for her at the Learning Tree by 5:40 (her classes are over at 5:30). She texts me when she's on the bus.

Today, at 5:50, I still hadn't heard from her. So I texted. The bus hadn't arrived yet. By 6:00, we were both worried, so I called the bus company owner.

"The service is at Ateneo," he said, meaning a school that seems to be on the other side of traffic, lots of traffic, from where Lizzie was waiting for him.

"Is it on the way?" I asked.

"Yes," he said. "On the way."

Well, wonderful. Why isn't it AT the Learning Tree? What's going on? And what can I, stuck here without a car, do about it?

Lizzie texted me at 6:10: d bus not here stil.

I was texting her again, in order to tell her that I'd call the owner again, when my phone rang: Lizzie.

I hit the green button and the phone made two beeping noises and I lost the call. So I called her right back. "The number you have called is not available," the operator said.

AHHHHHHHH! I texted her: I cant get you on d phone.

I called again, hoping that she'd figured out that her phone was off. "The number you have called is not available."

The phone rang. "Hi Mom," she said. Relief! "My phone ran out of juice," she said.

"Oh," I said. "Are you on the bus now?"

"Yeah," two beeps, and she was gone again.

At least I knew she was on the bus. Which made the fear go away long enough for me to start to boil with anger at the bus driver, the bus service, my inability to control the situation, the knowledge that this sort of anxiety is bound to be part of my life here, the irony and irritation of our communication advantages and gaps (of COURSE the phone runs out of juice JUST when we need it most), and the thousands of miles between us and home.

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