I’ve made plans for as long as I can remember and for about just as long, I’ve learned to spew John Lennon’s “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” quote. Or else there’s Woody Allen’s “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”
I’ve learned even the best-laid plans get screwed up. The more you diligently plan, the more disappointed you get when the whole thing gets ruined. Over the years life has taken detours like a labor I didn’t anticipate and getting divorced and getting fired and getting my apartment flooded. I plan anyway; it’s a personality trait not easily shaken. Planning increases my odds for whatever I’m doing. If I arm myself with knowledge about where I’m going and what to expect when I get there, I feel more prepared and in control. Planning = control and I like control whenever I can get it.
September was earmarked to begin book compilation of my 365-Project. Only instead, a refrigerator pipe two floors above had another prerogative and now so do I. Instead of organizing 284, now 285 autobiographical essays, I am looking at under-mount sinks, pull-down faucets, subway tiles. I’m tired of finding the best of all of the above. I don’t care if it’s a subway tile or an arabesque or Mosaic; if it’s porcelain, ceramic, or glass. I don’t care about the radius on the sink; if it’s chrome or nickel or silver plated or stainless steel. IT’S ALL SILVER!
I love words and yet the convoluted jargon surrounding every element of a kitchen renovation is exhausting. I need a “Kitchen Renovations for Dummies (and Control Freaks)” with a free copy of “The Best Kitchen Choice for the Best Price” almanac.
Meanwhile, I’m planning like it’s practice. I’m ripping out cabinets on Thursday, hauling junk on Friday, floors laid on Monday. My mind races each day, though. How many days left of the renovation? How many days do I have left in the project?
Sometimes I think of planning as if I’m the understudy for a role. You have to know all of the lines, but won’t always have the opportunity to perform them. Better to be prepared.
Occasionally I get rewarded and planning works out perfectly. (Validation and brain ammunition to encourage me to plan next time.) I texted my son to meet me outside of school at 5:45 because we had a 6:15 dinner reservation on the Upper West Side. I pull up, and he walks out at exactly 5:44. There’s no traffic on the West Side Highway and we find a parking spot directly in front of the restaurant. In fact, it’s not just an ordinary parking spot; it’s the one parking spot on the block you don’t need to feed the meter. Incidentally, this was on the day when my “life was in retrograde.” Yet, with a little planning, I was able to enjoy a delicious cherry on top of the mediocre Tuesday.
Like a careful account manager I am plotting next month’s calendar trying to carefully coordinate the electrician appointment with the plumber’s and ensure the appliance hook up happens after the cabinets, but before the counter and the tiling. I’m thinking about the water line to the refrigerator and the water filter under the sink and the mortar and the grout … and in what fucking color?
I plan and I plan and all the while, friends and family remind me with a snicker, how the only guarantee is that it won’t go according to plan.