Here’s the Thing…
Last weekend on our way home from the family reunion, PD and I stopped for dinner at one of our favorite little places in a town called Punxsutawney. While we were dining, I felt a little spell of mild anxiety coming on. (something not entirely unusual for me after a few nights of not sleeping well.) PD knows to talk to me to give me something to concentrate on until it passes. It did.
Back up a second… A cousin of mine at the reunion had a really nice canopy (such that you would put over a table outside for shade or rain protection) that PD decided we must have. When PD inquired where my cousin had purchased the canopy, he was told (surprise!) Walmart.
So after dinner I drove up the road a bit and contrary to all that I stand for and abhor about
the fucking place Walmart, we went there to look for a canopy. Walking back into the bowels of the store, something had caught my eye and I asked PD to hold up a second. I didn’t hear him say, “I’ll be in Sporting Goods.”
When I finished looking, I turned to see that PD was no longer standing in the aisle I was in. I walked to the main aisle. No PD. I looked down the aisle to my left. And to the right. No PD as far as my eyes could see. This is when the Thing occurred…
Instant, full-body panic set in and took up residence. For that matter, dug it’s heels in and ordered cable and new address labels. An overwhelming sense of non-reality kind of took over and the only thought in my head was Got. To. Find. PD. NOW. I quickly moved to the end of several of the side aisles and looked down them, hoping against hope that he would be standing there and I would be okay. After several of these it became more and more apparent to me that I would never see him again and I would die a slow, painful, torturous death right there in the middle of the place (only second to the dentist’s chair) I detest most in the world. I’m not sure how much time had passed. From what I’ve read, panic attacks only last (at the most) half an hour but to the sufferer, seem much longer.
I felt compelled to yell and run. I wasn’t aware of anyone near me noticing anything strange about my behavior. I say that in hindsight, as at the time, I doubt anything as trivial as that would have concerned me. I fought the urge to yell for PD. But only for a time. I did indeed, yell his name, at first mildly loud and when he didn’t answer, increasingly louder. And louder. Still not aware of drawing any undue attention. Which, had someone looked alarmed, I don’t know what my reaction would have been anyway. I do remember at some point hoping that no one would approach me and offer help because I couldn’t remember my name or why I was there or even what I needed help with.
After what seemed like an eternity, I saw a man way, way far away who (Please, please, please, God! kept running through my head) appeared to be PD. I took off in that direction and God help anyone who would have gotten in my way. I walked and walked faster and faster and it seemed ages before it seemed that I was making any headway. So I ran for awhile. Yeah, really.
When I finally reached PD, judging by the look of alarm on his face, I must have appeared quite a sight. I started crying at some point, not sure when. When he saw me, he reached out his arms and held me until I got settled down and choked out an explanation for my behavior. Needless to say, we left the store shortly thereafter. PD, who should not drive, insisted on driving home. We were about an hour from home.
Okay, I’m tired typing now and not all that comfortable relaying and reliving this experience. But I wanted you to know the Thing that prompted this upheaval of sorts that you’ve been reading this past week. Later I will tell you about my trip to the doctor.