Friday, February 07, 2014

This Can't Be Fixed With Yoga

Day 211: List TickingI am not the most organized person I know. I am not the least organized person I know. I get shit done. Most of the time. I do not always look good doing it.

When I was learning to be a stage manager I wrote everything down on a legal pad that I carried around with me. Someone would ask me a question and I'd page back through the pad until I found what I needed to answer. The student director I worked for had been a professional stage manager, touring Europe with a big show developed by a difficult director. She was helping me at least as much as I was helping her, probably more. At one point during the evaluation process she was asked to speak about how I worked and she said, "Well, the whole thing with the pads and stuff looks kind of scary to me always find the answer so I'd say it's fine."

Basically that's how my whole life runs. I know where the information is and I can access it a passable number of times. People continue to hire me to be the person who holds, manages, and disseminates information so....I'd say it's fine.

This is not to say that I don't have rules. I don't advertise all of them so it sometimes comes as a surprise to someone who sees me as more organized/strict/smart than I am when they come across a rule I've been quietly employing. Let me tell you about one of those rules, ok a combination of rules, that's figured prominently into my day. This is how I prefer things to go:

1. Having a plan which is then followed as it was set out to be. This plan can have if-then statements (for instance; call to see if the store is open, if the store is open go after work, if the store is not open go home and walk the dog) but not so many that a direct line of movement can't be drawn for the day/project/excursion.

2. Having no plan at all. Like, on Thursday we get on the bus at 7am and go to Washington, DC. We get back on the bus to go home at 5:30. No other specifications necessary. I can get behind the no plan, rolling enjoyment of a day or place or group of friends.

3. Having a plan, even a casually constructed one, and then not following it at all.

Shuttered EyeI have a laughably low tolerance for #3. It just pushes all kinds of emotional buttons connected to fear of change and instability. One summer Gar was visiting and he and Pony Express and I decided to get together one day and go for ice cream. The two of them are notoriously delighted by the plan-free life. They have never met a plan they weren't happy to toss by the wayside in favor of something shinier that crossed their paths. I knew going in that this was the case and I "planned" to roll with it because I love them and we don't all get to hang out very often. Twelve hours after we departed for ice cream we had walked several miles, met former college classmates, been to a party, been to a diner, and ridden the subway.  We were walking down my block. I was exhausted. Gar piped up, "Oh! We didn't get any ice cream. Let's go find some!" I grumbled something about not caring. He persisted, "But that was the plan!" and I growled back at him, "I don't think you know what that word means."

Pony Express loves to recount that tale. She never fails to giggle when she gets to my response. And yet as part of our friendship she's extremely sensitive to my hatred of the ever-changing plan. In turn I try hard not to press any plans on her, to construct my if-then statements to accommodate her style. Somehow, surprisingly, it works like my legal pad stage management.

Today I have a relatively packed day. There isn't a ton of wiggle room in the plan and I used it up by giving myself the gift of finishing my book over breakfast instead of doing the laundry right away. I put my laundry in this afternoon and when I came back to switch it to the dryer the room was locked and there was a sign saying that the water was turned off from 1:35 - 3:30pm. My laundry was being held hostage inside, probably halfway through a cycle. I don't know if it will finish the cycle when the water starts again or if I'll have to spend the money to run it through again. I did my best to roll with it. I mean, going to security and screaming bloody murder crossed my mind but so did the thought that I don't want to be that particular flavor of asshole. So I took advantage of the time and moved "Walk dog to pick up shoes" up on the list. Except that three frigid, dog reactive blocks later the gate was down on the shoe repair place and nobody was there. Thwarted! So I stomped back home and wrote this piece because when the next thing goes askew today I'm probably going to melt down like a 3-year-old on the way home from the carnival and one of you should be able to explain that to the authorities.


  1. I read. I nodded. I smiled.

  2. Anonymous6:43 PM

    I am a plan-everything-out-and-follow-the-plan kind of girl. I have a very hard time with spontaneity or a changing of plans. I want to be more spontaneous, I PLAN to be more spontaneous, but I just can't get there.

  3. i cannot handle 3 unless i've devoted myself to a complete and utter lack of plan.

    and the lack of plan? stressful! but i can justify it by saying the plan is to have no plan at all, and this keeps my brain in a loop of fake plan happiness just well enough to get me through the day.

    Pennsic this year is going to be plan-filled and i will love it. classes! classes i can take at any specific time! dinner is at a set time! i will be so very happy.