Got a call from my sis last night, and after we discussed various other things, she inquired if I'd noticed or done anything with the button for her gas tank.
Backstory: A few weeks ago, while visiting her, I borrowed her ancient, but well-kept car to meet another friend for lunch. Had to adjust the seat and the mirrors, as my sis is much shorter than I am, and I did not bother trying to adjust them back, as anything I could have done would have been just a guess.
She'd warned me about various "things" going on with the car, like the heater/defroster "moaning," a turn signal that had to be manually turned off, and I noticed myself that the odometer was a bit iffy as it hit the 175k mark. Which I mentioned, when I handed back the car keys.
On the way back to her house, I stopped and filled the tank - because that's what you do. I remember seeing an indicator on the dash that the tank was on the driver's side, I remember looking around to find the button to pop open the little door, finding in on the left side of the floor near a similar button for the trunk, I remember pressing it, I remember filling the tank (with premium, per the recommendation on the label inside the flap, egads!) but I don't remember that button being wobbly or loose. And I definitely don't remember it coming off. I racked my brain, while we were on the phone, to think if I could remember anything loose or rolling around on the car floor, anything that I might have kicked out of the car when I returned & parked in her garage.... Nada.
So, why am I consumed with guilt? Well, guilt combined with the tiniest dash of fear/anxiety that even though my sister did not sound the least bit angry or accusatory, that she might not believe me. She was a bit annoyed, because now she has to open the tank from the trunk until she can get the button replaced, and that's rather inconvenient, but I truly did not "get" any vibe that she thought I was lying to cover my sorry ass.
Logically, I know I have nothing to feel guilty for. Logically, and in my heart, I also know that my sister trusts me and believes me. She knows if our conversation had sparked a memory, I would have said, "Oh yeah, dummy me, I forgot, it came off and I put it in the glove compartment," or where-ever, not fibbed about it.
But logic has nothing to do with this ugly feeling in the pit of my stomach. I'm trying to just be with it, to breathe, and to examine why this feeling of guilt is there in the first place. Do I have fleas again - is it a case of me borrowing an OCPD sense of personal responsibility for keeping the earth revolving around the sun and every possible disaster, large or small, averted? Perhaps.
Am I trying to avoid some other ugly issue in my life, so that obsessing over this feeling saves me from dealing with something more important? I don't think so... I'm doing a lot of emotional homework right now, though it's not like that job will ever be fully over.
Maybe it's the money. Things are more than a little tight for me right now, and part of me feels that I should have offered to pay for having the button replaced, or at least to split the bill, since it may have been something I did that caused the button to come loose. Maybe I twisted or pulled on it before I pushed it. I truly can't remember now.
It would be challenging for me to pay - and my sister did not ask or even hint at such a thing. Still. We were always raised that if you borrowed something, you returned it in as good or better condition than when you borrowed it. That's why I filled the tank. I would have taken the car to be washed, as well, but did not spot a car wash, and felt that it might be overstepping, as some people are very particular about how their cars are washed.
The more I think about it, the more I think that's why I feel guilty. I should have offered that, last night, and I didn't.
Identifying the emotion, thinking about it, writing it all out, I already feel better - without chocolate, without washing the guilt away with a stiff drink. Though the guilt is still there, if much shrunken. I'm going to send my sister an e-mail offering to pay for or split the bill with her on having the button replaced. If she takes me up on it, I will find the money somewhere, and if she turns me down, I will at least have made the offer.
Wow, see that guilt floating away like a soap bubble? <Pop!>
I'm glad I'm doing it, but geez, this 'getting in touch with one's feelings' stuff is hard work!