The phone rang. I answered it, already knowing it was Robin, already expecting an extensive chat. I answered.
"Hello?" (Why do we still say hello as a question when we almost always know who we're talking to?)
"Hey! What are you doing?" she asked. She sounded bubbly. She never sounds bubbly.
"Uh, nothing," I replied.
"Want to go to Sedalia with me?" she asked.
"I can't." I replied.
"Yes you can. You just said you were doing nothing."
"Yeah, but. I just, I can't. I have Chloe here, and.."
"So. Take her to Kindra, or bring her along. What else do you have to do?" she asked. She never takes no for an answer ;)
"Ok, well let me call and find out. I'll call you back."
I sat on my bed and thought. Eating out sounded good, and we had plenty to talk about. Mom was home, so I called her, first, and she was happy to watch Chloe while we went to Sedalia. I called Robin back and told her I would go. On the way there, she asked why I'd said no.
"I don't know," I said. "I guess it's just my first instinct. It wasn't on my calendar, and I hadn't planned to be gone, so I said no."
"I'm going to have to break you of that," she said, smiling. And she did her best to work on me.
I've always been a planner. Not a risk-taker. Not one to do anything I haven't thought about or don't already know the outcome to. I like structure in a chaotic way. I'll buy something on impulse once in a while, or get a wild hair to go somewhere or do something off-schedule, but for the most part I am a planner.
I've always been annoyed by people who "plan" something with you on Monday, only to be occupied when your Friday date comes. "I didn't know we made set plans," they'll argue. But to me, if I even entertain the idea, and commit to doing it, I'm putting it on my calendar. In ink.
Robin taught me to write in pencil, in both good ways and bad. Sometimes spontaneity is disappointing, like when plans are broken, or when your event is canceled and you're already on your way. And for me, it's never easy, but she opened me up to the idea of it. She paved the way for me to begin my slow, steady metamorphis into a more spontaneous person. And then all of a sudden, I fell in love with someone who has never used a calendar. He likes to go where the wind blows, and he likes for me to tag along.
The first month or two we lived together I was anxious and spastic all the time. I'd try to get him to confirm what we were doing Friday night on Tuesday, or he'd come home from doing farm work and want to run to Bolivar. I had shows. I had dinner laid out. I had a plan for the evening, and he was ruining it! Even though his new plan was much more fun and relaxing, it was very hard for me to learn to be spontaneous.
I've come a long way. I'm much better at going with the flow and enjoying spontaneous outings than I once was. I still like to know what's going on ahead of time, but I'm not as "set in stone" as I once was. I'm proud of myself.
I still have my setbacks, like last Friday evening when we were leaving the house and I was shouting to Bryan as I was pulling my boots on, "I can not leave this house and not have any idea what we're doing!" We went out to eat, and we drove around, and we didn't do anything earth-shattering, so why is it so hard for me to relax and accept the unexpected? (Ok, probably because I've been slammed in the face with some pretty cruddy "unexpecteds," but besides that...)