Generally, I am a passionate talker. But I am not a complainer. There is a difference. Maybe it’s more subtle than I think it is. There is definitely a difference. I don’t blame others for the state of my existence. My mom and dad made mistakes. I make mistakes. We all do. I have known some heartless people but most people don’t set out to be cruel or unkind. I have made bad decisions and hurt people I loved. But I believe we are all human and all of us are imperfect. There are people that I can’t have in my life because their presence is toxic. But generally, I am not a grudge holder. It’s just not how I roll.
So preface this blog post with the statement that I am not looking for sympathy. I am NOT feeling sorry for myself. Oh there are days when I certainly feel sorry for myself but today isn’t one of them. Yesterday I got on the scale and saw a bigger number than I have ever seen NOT PREGNANT. I felt a little sorry for myself for a few minutes and then I moved on. I moved right onto eating a delicious bean and cheese taco and told myself it’s my happy weight. I’m happy. So I will buy bigger jeans. Oh well. I still look good. And hell…I look damn good for just shy of my 45th birthday.
So now…two paragraphs in and way too much exposition…allow me to get to the point.
I don’t have an emergency contact.
I fill out forms all the time, at work, at the doctor, for insurance. There is always the “emergency contact” line. I get to that line and I stop. I never know what to write.
Because, well, I don’t have one.
I don’t actually have an emergency contact.
For some reason this reality is like a slap in the face. It’s like that moment in that Steve Martin movie when he walks into the restaurant and asks for a table for one and a spotlight hits him and everyone grows quiet and stares at him.
That’s never happened, the whole room getting quiet and a spotlight appearing on me while I am filling out my forms in the doctor’s office but it feels a little bit like that. I always look around and wonder if anyone else knows the truth about me?
That I am that guy, the lonely guy, that pathetic sucker without an emergency fucking contact.
Ok, ok, I have lots of friends. I even have a few friends I would help hide a body for with no questions asked.
I’ve got people.
I’ve got a girlfriend but you know, we aren’t there yet…we aren’t to the “will you be my emergency contact?” phase.
Maybe someday but not yet.
I have some family, several states away. Even one or two that COULD be my emergency contact. But they aren’t actively involved in my day to day life. What on earth would they do if they got an emergency call about me? Here in Texas, thousands of miles away?
Sometimes I write down a good friend here in town. She would totally be my emergency contact. She is definitely the one I would call if I needed to hide a body.
But it always feels a little wrong. It feels like a burden that doesn’t belong to her. Sometimes I put her. I put her a lot on my kids forms but less often on mine.
And sometimes, I just make something up. Because really, I am at the doctor for cold medicine. What the hell kind of an emergency will happen in the next hour at a doctor I likely won’t ever see again? None. So I make up a fake aunt. Her name changes and so does her phone number. She’s local, my fake aunt.
But she’s there for me. In a pinch.
There is always an annoying auto pilot moment when I start to write my former spouses name. But that’s weird. And frankly, he sucks in an emergency. He would have been a crappy emergency contact when we were married. But now?
There is a part of me, a pretty big part, that wishes he could still be that for me. But that’s another blog post.
Someday my kids will be my emergency contact. But they aren’t old enough for that. Not yet. In a few years maybe.
And don’t even get me started on the will thing, power of attorney, medical power of attorney stuff. That decision has put me into paralysis for over two years…hence the fact that I have no will. Sorry kids, if something happens to me you get to learn what probate means.
Here’s the thing, it’s not really about the emergency contact. It’s more the reality of living a life where, in a crisis, I am on my own. Since my mom died and I divorced, I have truly discovered what it means to be on my own.
(Cue music from Les Miserables)
This was something I didn’t understand the implications of a few years ago and now I understand all too well. Some days I don’t notice so much. Other days, rare days, when I feel like falling, I know I better not…cause I am screwed if I do.
The good news is that I am pretty tough.
A little clumsy, ok, a lot clumsy.
And that’s tricky in a life without an emergency contact.