I don’t get enough alone time. I’ve written about this before. I’m one of those people who needs time by myself to keep my head on straight. I struggle with finding the time I need and balancing it with the time my husband and daughter need from me. Never mind work and home obligations.
I steal moments when I can. I sit for a few minutes on the couch in the basement after I’ve put the next load of never-ending laundry in the washing machine. When I run upstairs to get something, I take a little longer to find it so I can collect my thoughts. I even take extra time during my trips to the bathroom.
I am such a cliché.
I get longer blocks of alone time by doing errands alone. I’ve never been much for going out on the weekends, but going to Walmart on a Friday or Saturday night just feels so lame. However, time alone is time alone, and I can think my own thoughts while pushing a grocery cart just as well as when I am somewhere less utilitarian. If I can’t be at the spa, I should at least get stuff done.
The best part of those trips are the driving. When I’m driving I feel like I’m free. I can go wherever I want. If I want to take the long way to get somewhere, I can. Of course with gas prices the way they are these days, I try to be efficient when driving out and about. No more trips around the block to finish singing along with that song on the radio. Errands still need to be done though so I still get some drive time alone.
I got more time alone than I bargained for when I was doing errands a couple Fridays ago. I was feeling really efficient as I had gotten lots done in a short amount of time. I was getting ready to head home when I turned the key in the ignition and the car wouldn’t start. I phoned Sean at home and he contacted CAA for me so they could see what was going on. (We figured it was battery issues, but the car had its battery replaced in February so we shouldn’t be having problems with a nearly new battery.) I sat in the car alone in the parking lot for 45 minutes or so while I waited for the CAA truck to show up. I watched the sky get dark. I played with my phone, but it didn’t have much battery left either so I didn’t want to overdo it.
So I sat with my thoughts. I people-watched. I worried about what could be wrong with the car.
I was alone. And all I wanted at that moment was to be home with a working car and to hang out with my husband for the rest of my evening. This was one of those moments that proves my belief that God has a sense of humor.
The CAA guy came and after he checked some stuff, got the car started. He said everything looked like it should and he wasn’t sure why the car hadn’t started. (I was sure I hadn’t left the phone charger plugged in.) He told me to drive around for about half an hour so the battery could charge itself back up.
I drove around with the radio turned up, singing along. Now that the car was behaving, I was feeling a little more carefree. I still breathed a huge sigh of relief when I pulled back into our driveway. I breathed an even bigger one when the car started up again ten minutes after I shut it off (instructions from the CAA guy).
I walked through the back door and gave Sean his now-cooling dinner (one of my errands). I was nearly 90 minutes later than I had planned to be. I was grateful for the forced time alone, but was doubly grateful to be back with my family.
I still stole a few minutes here and there while doing laundry that weekend. That’s just a given.