i still kind of wanted to go--or rather, to be in the water. i just didn't want to get up, get dressed, bring the bathing suit, learn where to change and what to do and all that stuff when i got there: this, even though i was getting picked up and brought back by the tour bus company.
at times like these, i need to keep reminding myself that although people can and do change, parts of their old selves always re-emerge now and again. this particular old self was the little girl/young woman so timid she wouldn't face the strangers at a store's check-out line. instead i went shopping only with my friend, handed her my purchases and wallet, and waited outside. at my first job, when i was 16, i held my bladder for 9 hours because i was too shy to ask anyone where the ladies room was. [one of the men at the office eventually noticed that i never left the room, figured out the problem, and tactfully guided me to the loo.]
that this girl grew up to be a writer and a college teacher, constantly interacting with new people in often unpredictable circumstances, still often amazes and gratifies me. but sometimes i do regress and become the scared kid again. this was one of those times.
there was, however, an alternative to negotiating with that self, which was to blame my friend veronica for the whole problem. veronica had told me she looked forward to hearing how i liked the blue lagoon, since she had loved it when she was in iceland last year. clearly, she would be furious at me if i didn't go. how dare she be furious with me? i had a long argument with veronica in my head, uninterrupted by the fact that i knew that in reality she might be at most surprised and mildly disappointed if i didn't go.
after i finished quarreling with veronica and little karen, i called the bus company and told them not to pick me up, then dropped back into bed. two hours later i woke up, wheezing and coughing up nasty stuff. whatever role psychology had played in my decision, my body had known it wasn't up to going, that the chill i'd gotten under the white rainbow had settled in for awhile.
so i stayed in bed, graded a few papers, finished reading my murder mystery, dozed a lot, and had a generally comfortable day. i needed food, of course, and was grumpily planning to get dressed and go to the restaurant downstairs, when i found myself grabbing the phone and ordering room service.
it was a lovely day, and what i needed. but good lord, the crap i had to put myself through before i finally accepted that! next day i was ready to take the plane for two days in copenhagen. little karen was fine, imaginary veronica wasn't hassling me any more, and everything was tickety-boo. except of course that i was sick. ah well. a healthy mind in a healthy body was a great ideal--but a healthy mind in a wheezy body would do.