My friend the psychotherapist called today. She could tell from my voice—just squeaks and grunts and wheezes—that I have laryngitis. “Didn’t you just have laryngitis a couple of weeks ago?” she asked.
“Yes,” I responded indignantly in my voice like an Ewok sucking helium, “but I think I caught it again from myself.” How indignant can a person sound with a voice like that? I don’t think she could grasp the full impact of my frustration.
“Hmmm. . . ,” she says. “Maybe there’s some sort of message in this that you’re not getting.”
Oh, no! A message? What message? It’s bad enough that I have a bum knee/leg that is not healing quickly enough. I’ve had to forego yoga for two months. Yoga keeps me sane. Now I can’t talk either? These were all things I was thinking. My absence of a voice kept me from saying them. I want to scream but nothing comes out, just the silent howl of a madwoman.
“Well, happy Thanksgiving to you too. Talk to you later.” I think she understood me. Maybe not.
Now I’m worried that there is indeed a message. Is God trying to tell me to shut up? Did I say something horribly offensive to someone and I’m paying the price? Do you remember the story of Zechariah told in the Gospel of Luke? The angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that his old and barren wife Elizabeth would have a son, who would be John the Baptist. Zechariah didn’t believe the angel Gabriel so Zechariah was struck dumb, unable to speak until the prophecy was fulfilled. No angel has appeared to me and, I swear, if an angel appeared to me I would not refute what the angel was telling me.
What’s the message? I’m listening. There’s nothing else I can do.
Seriously. Can I dial 911 and tap a message on the phone to tell them to send me help? Is there an appropriate hotline? I never learned sign language. I can sign “I love you” but that doesn’t work in all circumstances. Like I can’t go to the deli counter to order a pound of ham and sign “I love you” to the deli clerk. Do you think the barista at Greenberry’s will understand that I want a grande chai tea latte with skim milk if I sign “I love you” to her?
Okay, okay, calm down. Put some music on Pandora and sing along with Janis Joplin—that’s what I usually do. “Take another little piece of my heart now, baby . . .” Fail. So I can’t sing with Janis, then I’ll dance. “Ouch, no, stupid leg.”
Frustration leads people to do desperate things. I cleaned my bathroom. I hate cleaning my bathroom.
Just another quiet descent into madness. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.