Have you heard of 'cognitive dissonance'? That's when your brain is struggling to reconcile two opposing thoughts. (Or at least I hope that's what it means. I'll feel really stupid if it turns out to mean something quite different. Like... you know... 'cheese platter'.)
Well, I'm suffering from cognitive dissonance at the moment. (My version of cognitive dissonance. Not cheese platter.)You see, on the one hand, I'm living this really exciting post-book launch life of doing interviews and signing books and appearing on Oprah (okay, so that last one was a lie, but it could happen); but on the other hand I'm still a mother of three and a wife of one and have laundry and cooking and cleaning and washing and schlepping and homework and all the monotonous mundanities of every day life to do. And it's not fair. Don't my family know I'm a PUBLISHED AUTHOR???
What's more, the normal irritations of life keep getting in the way of my temporary foray into glamour and fabulous. Just this morning, for example, I was driving the kids to school when another car slammed into us from the right hand side. We were all fine, which is the important thing, except that the car was not, which is kind of important too.
I jumped out of my car to confront the person who had wreaked such senseless damage, prepared to be cross. Didn't they know I'm a PUBLISHED AUTHOR?
A handsome young man approached me. Too handsome. I can't yell at a nice handsome man! (Er... not that I'm that good at yelling at mean ugly men, but it's much easier.)
"I'm sorry!" he said sincerely. "I didn't see you!" Well, duh. I mean, I didn't expect he would have bashed into me if he did see me. Unless he was really mean. And even then he'd need a good reason.
"Well that's very bad," I said. "I'm a published author and this is not acceptable." (Okay, so I didn't say that, because it would have been really idiotic and embarrassing. But I thought it.)
"I'm so sorry," he said. "Are the kids okay?" Oh yeah... the kids. I checked again. They were still fine.
"I feel so bad, I'm so sorry. But at least no-one was hurt!" Bugger. Now he was really being nice. How dare he be nice when he just banged into my car?
So in the end, we shook hands, I smiled warmly (I was cross, but he was handsome!), said goodbye, exchanged cards, and went our own separate ways. And as I drove away, I looked back at my beautiful children, and felt immensely lucky just to have them safe and sound, and knew a piece of metal on wheels didn't matter.
Except that's not really what I felt at all. I was still annoyed about the car. But then I went to do a radio interview to promote my book (Yes! I'm a PUBLISHED AUTHOR!), and though I may have been driving in a battered car, I was walking on air again.
This is not my car. Nor does it look like my car. Nor was the damage to my car as extensive as the damage to this car. But it's someone's car. And that's all that matters.