I had an MRI on Wednesday, which prompted, in a very weird way, a series of thoughts and conversations about solitude.
Happily, I’m not the slightest bit claustrophobic or anxious about MRIs–a good thing, considering how many I’ve experienced (7 or 8, I think) in the past two years. So, when I arrived in the radiology department of the hospital on Wednesday, I was completely relaxed and upbeat. I lay on the skinny little bed, took the alarm button in my hand, and slid back into the tube with no concerns. 25 minutes later, when they rolled me back out, the nurse asked, “Were you sleeping in there?”
“No, I was just planning my Thanksgiving menu,” I said. “It’s the first time I’ve had to myself to think about it.” The nurse laughed, injected the contrast dye into my arm (the door prize for surviving two spinal surgeries), and rolled me back into the device for some comparison images, thereby buying me enough time to plan the dessert course. I’m working on a whole program of gluten-free dishes this year, so I was glad for the extra set of scans.
The next day, I was telling a friend about my brief escape from human contact. She nodded knowingly.
“I’m secretly jealous of my husband’s business travel,” she confided. “When he flies home from Asia, he gets hours and hours of personal time sitting in an airplane seat with nobody bothering him or asking questions or needing him to do things for them.”
Later that day, I attended a parents’ function for my school and was sharing my thoughts about stolen time with another mom. She laughed at my extreme examples, and shared her own daily escape.
“I get up an hour early every day so that I can go for a run before anyone else wakes up,” she said. “That way, I don’t have to worry about missing a phone call from school, or being late to pick someone up, or anything else. It’s my own time, and I can totally relax.”
And so I ask you, my role model friends: is this what we’ve come to? Do we need trans-Pacific flights, pre-dawn runs, and the confinement of high-tech diagnostic equipment in order to find a little time for our own thoughts? How else do we carve out moments for ourselves?
Ironically, I’m writing this post on the single day of the year when everyone is allotted a bit of bonus time. We turned the clocks back last night. When I woke up today and remembered the fall-back wonder of daylight savings time, I rolled over and told The Husband, “I’m taking my bonus hour right now.” Then I rolled back over and dozed for another blissful 45 minutes.
I hope everyone else is feeling well-rested, too.