My friend often finds herself in the Chicago suburbs for work. Yesterday around 6:00pm I get a text that says, “Two flat tires will be home SUPER late.” I’d just woken up from a nap because babysitting her daughter earlier in that day while on day two of my fast had wiped me out. I was nothing short of exhausted. Day two is usually the worst. Your body is like, “Wait, what’re you doing!? STOP.” I like to take it easy but it was the only day I’d get to see my friends from out of town + my friends wanted their daughter out of the house so I melded both worlds. I ended up carrying this tiny two year old for most of the day. After all, her little ass legs only rev up to snail’s pace.
I’m home for the evening when I get a call where she tells me that the garage guys need to get the wheel locks off of the car (they’ve had their tires stolen multiple times), but the keys are in Chicago — an hour drive away. So they decide to try and break them off. In the process of doing so they crack the tires. My friend is obviously upset. She’s in a super suburb which means it’s hella far away from the city and everything closes at ten. They can’t fix the tire. She can’t rent a car. She’s fucked. My immediate response was, “I’m coming to get you.” Her response, as usual, is to rationalize why she doesn’t need help and then explain to me why she can do it on her own. It’s annoying that she’s so stubborn. So rather than find a place to wait while I drive out, she argues. Our conversation goes like this:
Her: No, no. I can take a cab to a train. It’s the last train of the night, but I think I can make it. [this is like the worst time to roll the dice]
Me: Let me call (her friend in the city who has a car) to see if she can drive out.
Her: No, let me see what else I can do to figure this out.
Me: I’ll borrow (my friend who just drove into the city’s) car and drive out.
Her: *annoying statement that’s trying to avoid getting help*
Me: I need to have a conversation with them now because if you don’t figure something else out then I won’t be able to get in contact with them to get the car to help you. They have toddlers and it’s getting late.
Her: Something annoying trying to convince me that I shouldn’t bother and that she’ll be fine.
We hang up.
I call my friend, tell her the story, ask her if I can use her car and her immediate response is, “Yes, do whatever you need to do.” I have amazing friends by the way.
I call my stranded friend and tell her I have the car.
Her: …okay, well, I’m going to get a ride to the METRA station and arrive in the city around midnight.
Me: Okay. I’ll come and get you from the METRA station downtown.
Her: No, it’s fine. I’ll just take the “L” into the city.
Me: It’s midnight. That’s dumb.
Her: It’ll be fine.
Me: I’m picking you up from the train station.
You may ask yourself why I’m adamant about going to get her. First, it’s because it’s who I am. If you call me and tell me you’re stuck, I’m going to come and get you. Second, I know what it’s like to feel exhausted and stranded. Sometimes you just want someone to say, “I’m coming to get you.” I don’t have a hero complex — although it reads like it– I just know how annoying it can be to wait for the train after a long day, let alone a shitty long day.
It takes me an hour to get to where my friend is staying to pick up the car. I know I used to live in this city, but I can’t remember shit about getting around. It’s super annoying. Lost twice in one day? Ugh.
I get back to the apartment with the car a little after 10:15pm. At this point I have THE WORST HEADACHE OF MY LIFE. I head up to the apartment to charge my phone because it’s at 14%. I call and ask her if she’s gotten on the train yet. She says no because the people who dropped her off dropped her off at the wrong train station. The train doesn’t stop at that station after 10:00pm. At this point she’s waiting for a cab to pick her up to take her to the correct train station before the last train leaves for the evening. If you haven’t guessed it, her phone battery is also dying and there’s nowhere for her to charge it. I know, I’m shaking my head too.
I forget a lot of what happened here except this part:
She tells me she’s looking into the empty parking lot through the window of the train station and there’s a car behaving erratically. It’s circling the EMPTY parking lot repeatedly and the people inside are staring at her through the train station windows. Their behavior is making her nervous and she doesn’t feel safe. Now, my friend is not someone to whom fear comes easily. I can tell by her voice that she’s upset and scared, which is making me frustrated — I know, I know, it’s not a logical response, but it’s my response. I ask her if she can get somewhere safe and she says she’s waiting for a cab but that might be 30 minutes. In my head I’m thinking, “THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE JUST LET ME GET YOU IN THE FIRST PLACE.” She keeps telling me about this car and how her battery is dying. And I’m like, where are you? I’m coming to get you. Her response, which in my opinion should have been, “I’m at 3459 N. Whatever Street in Whatever town Illinois,” was, instead, “I don’t know where I am and I’ll email you the location once the cab takes me to place where I can plug my phone in.” What? Who says that?
At this point I just said, “Look at the GPS on your phone. Tell me what city you’re in so I can start driving. I have no idea what city/town you’re in so I can’t even leave Chicago.”She tells me the city.
Now, I’m juice fasting. It’s only the 2nd day and I’ve already overexerted myself. I’m hella cranky. I’m hungry. I’m tired. I have THE WORST HEADACHE OF MY LIFE, and I thought I was going to be in bed by this point. I am going to drive a little over an hour to get her. I know that it’s not safe for me, or the drivers around me if I drive in my current state. So I ponder breaking my fast. I think. “Well, there’s a vegan protein bar with great salads I wonder if they’re open.” I look at the map and they’re in the opposite direction of where I need to go to get her making this trip almost 2 hours instead of one. All the places around me are bars, or just shit shows in terms on waiting on food, but I know I can’t drive. Well, I know I don’t want to drive like this so I look across this street and there’s a shitty chain pizza place. It’s right there and I know I can get something immediately. With guilt, frustration, and hunger fueling my steps I get some pizza and get on my way.
Minutes after I eat something the headache subsides. I get lost a few more times while driving –UGH– but I get to her. She’s super grateful and happy that I brought her dog with me. I knew she’s want to see him after such a shitty day. She does the thing panicked people do when they’re safe, unload all of the shit about their day at lightening fast speed. I felt badly, but all I want to do is listen to hip hop, drive, and get home. No talking. I tell her, “…hey, so I broke my fast and I’m feeling kinda shitty about it. I ate pizza and it’s making me feel gross plus I’m tired I can’t give you the attention you deserve. I’m sorry.” She’s like, “…oh, it’s okay I don’t need 100% of your attention I just need to talk. Oh, and I ate a great salad I feel pretty good.”
This is where I run into trouble. Many find speaking cathartic. I find solace in silence. How do you maintain your composure when the person you’re around needs the exact opposite of what you need? Plus how do you respond to someone who just sat in a restaurant eating salad and drinking margaritas while you ate shitty pizza and hated yourself? You. Don’t. Say. Anything. I know my emotions are all askew because I’m fasting. It’s 1:30am and my responses are totally irrational and hyperbolic. I’d be picking a fight just to be mean and that’s not cool. I awoke this morning still frustrated and greasy. I have to start this shit again and that’s annoying. I’ll talk to my friend about how I felt, eventually. For now, I just want to do yoga, meditate, and find my happy place.