Anxiety, Lent, Love

It started in a parking lot

It started in a parking lot, behind a local tapas place where they serve a fantastic Sunday brunch. LP and I hadn’t been there for a while, and we wanted to share it with the visiting kathrynzj.

I don’t like that parking lot at the best of times, and the combination of snow and two sets of lines painted on and fading off the pavement meant cars had arranged themselves in peculiar fashion. I drive a station wagon, and in a tight parking lot, it feels huge.

I felt anxious.

It’s a familiar feeling. There have been times in my life when anxiety accompanied me everywhere, but that hasn’t been true for a long time, and it takes me by surprise when it appears now, an old frenemy.

I’ve driven that car through tighter squeezes in Boston, taking my son to college, but in the parking lot, I had that strange feeling in my chest, the one that keeps you from breathing right, and I began to do what I do when I’m anxious: I explained, rapidly. Explaining, rapidly, gets me more wound up. It’s possible I verge on hyper-ventilating.

I managed to park the car.

Disaster averted, right?

Wrong. In the tapas place, we were diverted to the bar to wait for a table, and we sent LP to sit on a bench and save us seats while we got drinks. I glanced over and saw three women move her over so far that they might as well have pushed her off the bench completely.

Really, this ought not have been a crisis. But I’m began to think, and possibly say, “everything is ruined and no one will have a good time” because —

wait for it —

I chose the wrong restaurant.

Yes, I began to feel I had broken brunch, simply by choosing the wrong place to go.

God bless kathrynzj, who made conversation with other people at the bar and got us seats there together, and shortly thereafter we got a table and everything was beautiful.

Well, when I started breathing normally again.

Then I was able to say to myself, “I remember the time I came here with someone we won’t name who made fun of the menu, and I remember times when I chose the place and other people didn’t like it, and I remember…” well, other things, verses written to the same tune.

And brunch? Was not broken at all.

And neither was I.

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