I had it. For one joyous hour it was mine. I celebrated with wine (which I’m trying to learn not to hate), called all my family members, and rejoiced in telling everyone the news about moving to France. A teaching position was offered to me somewhere in Lille, sometime next October, and for the one hour after I heard the news, nothing was going to get in the way of that romanticized quintessentially French lifestyle I had dreamed of since high school.
Enter: my nemesis, the telephone.
The phone and I have always had something of an animosity toward each other. Apart from the fact that the interface on this phone is horrible and nonsensical, I have always, upon hearing any telephone ring, been gripped by apprehension. The two main subterranean roots at the foundation of this apprehension seem to be 1) my professional grade awkwardness concerning all forms of social interaction; and 2) the fact that (apart from family calls) bad-news telephone calls hold a majority over good-news telephone calls. This particular phone call was not from my family; it was from my doctor.
Apparently, the routine check-up that I got as a part of my Let’s-Take-Advantage-of-Our-Health-Care-Before-It-Runs-Out-in-Two-Months spree turned up some “abnormalities” which need to be tested; abnormalities which could be essentially nothing, but could also be something frightening enough that I am reluctant to say it out loud. Suddenly day-dreams of croissant-filled mornings and leisurely bicycle rides and day-trips to Belgium are rudely invaded by hypothetical scenarios where my savings has turned to crippling debt while I struggle endlessly to pay for treatments worse than the disease which roots me to this spot and keeps me from accomplishing in life the things I have set out to do.
I just came back from a colposcopy, which is just as painful, uncomfortable, and shudder-inducing as those consonant clusters make it sound. I know chances are good that this turns out to be nothing bad at all. Given my age and history, I’m sure the statistics can tell me that I have nothing to worry about. But despite all the reasons I shouldn’t be worrying, there’s nothing that can stop me from doing just that. Fear never listens to logic, no matter how rational the mind in which it is contained. It is an unruly, spoiled child running rampant in the recesses of the brain, messing everything up, moving things around where they’re not supposed to be, and generally running the place whenever it feels like as it screams all the while at the top of its annoying little lungs. Unruly, spoiled children never give in to reason. This fear will be my house guest in the coming weeks as I wait for results, and once again I will defer my celebration of my new opportunity, and put my happiness on hold until I am certain that this teaching position isn’t just another addition to the long list of “almosts” in my life.