Fiorella had it all planned out. She woke up at 7:00 and packed all her stuff in a tote, then set off at 8:00 for her ophthamalogist appointment in Austin at 9:20. The drive usually takes forty-five minutes, but Fio allowed for traffic slowdowns on the interstate. What she did not bargain for was almost three hours of claustrophobic inch-by-inch driving. She staggered into the doctor's office late, but the women at the desk understood and assured her they would be able to fit her in within an hour, but Fio asked them to set the new appointment for 1:30 because she had another appointment at 11:30.
But the 11:30 appointment didn't work out. At loose ends, Fio picked up a Colonel Sanders lunch and drove around a little, then attended her 1:30 appointment. As part of the exam, her eyes were dilated, and afterwards, she waited about an hour till she thought the dilation had abated enough for her to drive. She took off at about 3:00, horror upon horror, had trouble seeing the lane divides. Nothing to do but take the access roads, drive slowly, and pray. Needless to say, several drivers indicated their displeasure.
When Fio finally made it home and told Husband about her day, he wasn't at all sympathetic. In fact, he was horrified that, an hour of stand-still traffic, she had started screaming, banging her wheel, and honking her horn. For her part, Fio was not happy to see the house was in disarray and discover that the front door was hanging open.
Husband went upstairs, and Fio heard a sound like someone falling hard. She ran up to the bedroom and found Husband face down, half on the bed, half on the floor and he told her that not only had he been dizzy for a couple of days, but he'd fallen earlier in the day when she was gone. With visions of a pneumonia relapse dancing in her head, Fiorella, fighting left-over dilation the whole way, drove him lickity-split to the emergency room, getting angrier with every mile. She already had enough on her plate, and now she was facing a repeat of the in-and-out horror of a couple of months ago. It was too much.
She threw a fit in the hospital, something she would have never believed herself capable of--she'd always striven so hard to be a nice person, the one who kept her head when all about were losing theirs. But the worm had turned. Enough was enough. She yelled, cried, and cursed. She got escorted out by a security guard and a counselor.
The counselor stayed and talked with her as she sobbed her heart out. He told her to be good to herself and relax, yada, yada, which is all well and good, but Fio, whose inborn prime directive is action, doesn't want to relax. She wants to accomplish--to write books and paint pictures and learn languages, to walk into a neat, clean, organized house, and to save the world.
Is that too much to ask?
(PS: The dilation left-over persisted and she had to drive all the way home slowly, complete with honking cars, in the dark of night with every headlight, traffic light, and neon sign shattering into colors in front of her. And you wonder why she's tense.)