Tale of a Trailing Spouse

After 9 years and 3 countries, I’m making the transition from expatriate to repatriate. It’s a brand new chapter with new stories to tell! I now come to you from the home of baseball and birthplace of Frank Sinatra— Hoboken, New Jersey.

An idle mind and devil’s workshop

an idle mind and bum footNeedless to say, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands. Under doctor’s orders not to bear a single ounce of weight on my injured foot, I am relegated to spending hours on my back with my leg propped up on pillows to reduce swelling. Before the accident, I would have told you I couldn’t think of anything more enjoyable than a few leisurely hours in my pajamas working away on the Internet as I binged watched the latest episode of Orphan Black. But after having spent most of the last six weeks doing nothing but these very activities, I doubt I will ever feel happy lounging in my pajamas again.

Now that the constant pain has subsided and I have emotionally come to terms with the difficult road ahead after a Lisfranc dislocation, I ought to be doing more than pacifying myself with a steady diet trash television and Facebook. I should use my time wisely and develop a couple more social media marketing classes to teach this fall. I could practice Spanish using the overpriced Rosetta Stone program I have opened exactly twice in four years. I could read the books beckoning me from the bedside table. With at least 1008 hours of nothing to do ahead of me, I could transform myself into the best read, completely bilingual, social media instructor in Singapore. I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to aspire to that?

But just as I cannot force the ligaments and joints being held together by screws to heal any faster, I am reluctant to tackle projects unless I feel inspired to do so. Maybe I am still a little down about what I am missing out on because of this injury. Perhaps my mind is too preoccupied with fears that I am not healing correctly or the possibility I might injure myself during the fragile days, weeks, and months to come. Who knows? I do know that I will get there. One day, I am going to wake up feeling energized and motivated to take part in meaningful activities, which require, if not physical stamina and two good feet, then at least a little brain power.

If a mind is a terrible thing to waste, then mine has melted into a cesspool of gray matter over the last few weeks. When you spend too much time alone, and without the distractions of a daily routine, it’s amazing what and, more importantly, who pops into your head. My uninspired mind suddenly feel electric as I reminisce about people from my past and ask myself the inevitable question: Where are they now? With hours to kill, no fewer than three computers in arms reach and some fast fingers, you know what happens next… I turn to “the Google.”

Don’t be judgmental. You know you’ve done it, too.

imagesAs I let my fingers do the walking, I try to tell myself that what I am doing is not cyber stalking. My motives are neither impure nor nefarious. I’m not running off to join Anonymous. I’m not going “all Edward Snowden“ with what I uncovered, merely trying to quench my curiosity. Far from a cyber stalker, I see myself as a harmless Internet researcher trying to discover the latest details on people and events from my past who will firmly stay in my past.

It’s amazing what you can dig up in a matter of minutes. For example, after 10 minutes on Google and Facebook, I learned that an ex from 25 years ago still lives in South Carolina and attends a local Presbyterian church. Eight years after our demise, he married an elementary school teacher. She sells crafts on Etsy and recently joined an “Impeach Obama” Facebook group. The couple has two boys (both the spitting image of my ex) and seems otherwise normal and happy. Seeing this made me happy, too. I asked and “The Google,” told me that this fellow I had once known and shared a part of my life with in my teens and 20s eventually matured, found his way, settled down, and lives a comfortable life. As much as his happy ending satisfied my curiosity, it also gave me a sense of relief that his path didn’t end up being mine. I simply don’t have the talent or desire to sell crafts on Etsy.

After one successful search, I googled and googled. Some people from my past seemed to have less happy search results; others provided me sources of both bemusement and amusement. For example, I found another man from my past who has a digital alias similar to that of shamed Congressman Anthony Weiner’s “Carlos Danger”. Tell me that’s not funny!

After I exhausted all the possible search terms in my head, I eventually gave up my “Internet research” and moved on to another episode of Orphan Black. The idle mind may or may not be the devil’s playground, but a world without BBC America most certainly is.

13 comments on “An idle mind and devil’s workshop

  1. Dawn Berger
    July 19, 2014

    Diana, that was an excellent read. I been out of work since 5/23/14 and have found myself doing some of the things you spoke of. I had surgery on my ankle 14 years ago and refused to allow the doctor to cut on me again to remove the metal plate and screws, GUESS WHAT???? I am having surgery on 7/29/14 to have the screws removed due to discomfort that I am currently dealing with. Please know that those words are NOT intended to Discourage you; they ate intended to Encourage you to have the screws removed if that is in option. It is my understanding from my podiatry that when screws are reinserted in the foot, they are only there to hold the bones in places for the healing process. Best wishes to you for a speedy recovery! It’s great seeing my classmates on Facebook during my “internet research” times. Have a fantastic day!

    • Diana Mahmoud
      July 19, 2014

      Thanks Dawn! Forunately the surgeon does plan to remove my screws after 12 weeks. I have heard that they the hardware can cause problems later and was relieved I didn’t have to be the one to request it. I will be thinking of you in the days and weeks following your surgery. Do let me know how it goes.

  2. Lisa Newell
    July 19, 2014

    So glad the sharp pains have subsided! Isn’t it great to search and research and find the place you are now is the best place to be! Hugs and love!

    • Diana Mahmoud
      July 19, 2014

      I suppose I knew it anyway, but the trip down memory lane was certainly an interesting ride! Say hi to my Greek Cousin! Miss you both!

  3. Hulda
    July 20, 2014

    As always love reading your words! Would love to come over for cappuccinos and a visit

    • Diana Mahmoud
      July 20, 2014

      I wish you were here to come over too. How I miss those Barcelona chats!

  4. Wendy
    July 20, 2014

    Human nature is a strange beast sometimes. I can totally relate to how you feel and I think many of us have been curious to take a trip down memory lane through Mr Google, especially when we should really be doing something far more productive. Refreshing to hear your honesty. I can immerse myself in a book, a jigsaw, a cooking project, and random internet searches, anything rather than the “work” I should be getting down to.
    As for your injury – I cannot begin to imagine the frustrations. I had plates and pins in my arm many years ago and that was bad enough. One of my plates snapped as a result of strain through physiotherapy and that led to a bone graft and another plate. Years later my daughter needed a plate in her arm (though for different reasons) and in both cases we were recommended to have them removed. We would definitely agree with that decision.
    Keep smiling 🙂

    • Diana Mahmoud
      July 20, 2014

      How awful? That is one of my biggest fears! Did you know instantly that it had broken? How did you know?

      • Wendy
        July 24, 2014

        When the plate broke? Yes. I heard it/felt it. It took a couple of visits to my hospital to have them convinced though. The doctor I saw in emergency didn’t believe that the plate could break, especially as my arm was still in plaster. The ortho surgeon could tell from the xray though when I went back to see him.
        I think you’d know if something like that happened. Our kids have always been able to tell us if they’ve hurt themselves more seriously than just a bump or bruise.

  5. Tricia
    July 20, 2014

    Hahahaha! Enjoyed the raw honesty!

  6. Te vas a recuperar al 100 % muy pronto! Ya verás que rápidamente ésto quedarà en el pasado! Es una experiencia muy cansada, pero tal vez tu cuerpo ya necesitaba reposo y es la única forma de hacerte estar quieta!! Hace dos semanas yo tomé unos días de vacaciones en Guadalajara, visitando a mi familia. Estaba muy felíz de ver a mis hermanos y sobrinos. Y fuí al oftalmológo a un chequeo de rutina. Y, oh sorpresa! Tuve que ser operada de emergencia de mi ojo izquierdo porque tenía desprendimiento parcial de retina! Y ahora debo estar dos meses sin hacer absolutamente ningún deporte, ni siquiera yoga. Sí puedo trabajar, pero es tan aburrido no poder hacer nada de ejercicio físico.! Así sucede a veces en la vida, y pues tenemos que aprender a poner más atención en nosotros mismos. Te mando mis mejores deseos para tu recuperación. Saludos a Nader. Cuídate
    mucho! Besos

    • Diana Mahmoud
      July 20, 2014

      ¡Ay, qué horror! Espero que te pongas bien pronto, amiga.

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