Tuesday, December 4, 2007

the myth of planning

“[I'm] happy enough. I don't expect much. I don't get much, I don't give much. I generally enjoy whatever comes along. That's my answer for you, summed up for your feminine consideration. I'm happy enough.”

-Cal, Waitress, 2007

You plan. Oh, you plan. You plan because that is how things are done, you were told. You plan to one day be at the top of your game. To work your way up that corporate ladder, to madly scramble over the aching heads and shoulders of your colleagues, to one day reach that top rung. From there, you'll take in the panorama with tired eyes and throbbing arms. An unblemished scene stretching before you, if nothing can be unblemished, you'll feel some kind of pride, some kind of accomplishment. An achievement to tide you over for those few years between goal and death.

You plan to one day find a nice girl and settle down. She'll be smart and funny, capable of making you laugh when you're down, and keeping you interested when you want to stray. She'll be perfect, you think, with her own life so she stays out of yours. With a solid career, and a passion for all things culinary. And she'll exist in a small space beyond beauty. There isn't a word for it yet, because nothing, so far, has existed to which such a word might apply. But you'll use it when you find her. Only then, will the dictionary be altered.

You plan; do you see it yet? You plan your route to work in the morning, choosing one snarl of traffic over another, thinking all the while, “If I had only gone the other way....” But this inconvenience allows you time to plan which complicated caffeinated beverage you will choose when you get to your destination. You decide on a non-fat, double latte and while sipping at the concoction begin to wish you had gone with the double short, non-fat, low foam latte.

You plan out your work day, but discard that manifesto at the first unexpected turn. Then, you plan to throw the week away to whimsy only to get drawn back into your original plan of structure when things begin to go smoothly. Plan, plan, plan. Wrench, wrench, wrench. The weekend is planned, but falls apart in a flood of cancellation calls and poor weather. Suppers are planned, but these plans, too, are rerouted by restaurant closures and out-of-stock markets.


You plan to be happy, but it seems that something out there is taking preventative measures against said plan. Yes, something is obviously working against you at this point. How else can the cancellation of your flight be explained? The breakage of your car? The death of your cat? These annoyances have got to be part of the well-executed plan of some other, benevolent, being.


Lying in bed one night, you suddenly hit on a new plan. You plan to toss out this passion for plans, to take things as they come, to never expect, because it is this absurd expectation of success which inevitably ends up drowning you in a sea of failure in the end. Yes, there is a new plan in place. A great plan. An infallible plan. You plan to just be... happy enough. And that should be all right.

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