Sunday, 28 February 2010

The Plan……

For some strange reason I have seemed to amassed the reputation of being a grumpy bastard who hates the world.

Now I don’t know if this is because of something I have said in the past, or due to the fact that I normally glare back at the world with the expression that an astronaut has when he farts in his own spacesuit, but I guess this assumption is pretty much correct.

I have a list of things in my head that annoy me and I am updating it all the time. Do you want to know what is right at the top at the moment, right in front of that god-awful cover version of Journeys Don’t Stop Believing by the cast of fecking Glee?


I am very big on timekeeping.

Now I am never late. If I say I am going to be somewhere at a certain time, then I make sure that I’m damn well going to be there at that time. I hate tardiness. In fact I hate lateness so much that I always arrive at my destination early, just so I am never late. If I say that I will meet you Wednesday at 2.00pm, chances are I will actually get there on Tuesday at 4.00pm, impatiently tapping my foot and checking my watch, wondering where the hell you were.

And yet everyone else I know seems to be on a different time zone to me. Everyone is late.


I swear whenever I arrange to meet someone, they will get there 20 minutes after our arranged meeting time with an apologetic look on their face and a really shitty excuse, wondering why the hell I am looking like I want to kill them with a knitting needle.

There is a reason for my obsession with timekeeping though and it boils down to my weird OCD mind.

Now I plan everything down to the finite detail, I really can’t help it. Every aspect of my life has to be controlled down to the letter. In fact I could probably tell you what will be doing on Sunday the 21st March at 3.00pm (making a cheese and ham sandwich and a cup of tea, I was going to add some pickle to the sandwich, but I probably forgot to get some when I went shopping the day before).

But I just don’t plan; I need to have THE PLAN.

Whenever arrangements are made, I will always ask “So, what's THE PLAN?”

I need to know times, dates, temperature, moon cycles, the whole shebang.

The worst response to that question you could give me would be: Let’s just see what happens?

That sentence is like a red rag to a bull to my odd little mind and it will wake up the OCD imp within my head, where it will scurry to the front of my brain, with its claws clicking on my shiny mind floor, and then it will leap up and down, desperate to get my attention.

Let’s just see what happens?” my OCD imp will ask me after I finally notice it. “But what about THE PLAN?”

“Do we really need a plan? Can’t we just be spontaneous?” I ask it back.

Spontaneous! Do you know what spontaneity brings?” it screeches at me with its little impy voice.

“No……..” I mumble shamefaced.

“CHAOS! That's what it brings. Do you want chaos, Dan?”

No I bloody don’t!

I shake my head hard, feeling the imp lose its balance so it has to hang on to my cerebral cortex for dear life with its tiny little hands.

“No, I thought not, “The imp says, dusting itself down after the mindquake stops, “I’m going to have to make some adjustments to THE PLAN now.”

And so it will scurry off to its little office inside my head and sit at a big drawing desk, where by lamplight its sits hunched over a massive timetable with the words THE PLAN written on the top in huge letters, a timetable that maps out my entire life, and it will sit there happily making adjustments here and there, updating little bits of info that I gather, always with a happy smile on its scaly lips, and when it really needs to concentrate, like if I’m trying to decide if I should have my bath at 7.00pm rather than 8.00pm, meaning I then get to read for an hour longer, then it will hum a happy tune to itself and stick its little green tongue out of the corner of its mouth in a distracted manner as it weighs up the pros and cons and then updates THE PLAN accordingly.

I’ve grown quite fond of him to be honest.

But that means in the real world, as opposed to the really bizarre one that lives in my head, I constantly need facts. If someone says they are going to pop over and see me at my flat, I need to have a time. It can’t just be whenever, it needs to be a real time that you can see on a clock, otherwise my whole routine gets thrown out of whack and I just end up standing in the middle of the room like a geriatric, looking confused and wondering what the hell I am meant to be doing next.

Holidays are fun for me as well.

Last year I took Kates to Florida for two weeks. By the end of the first night I had done a detailed little timetable of how we can maximise our trip on my iPhone.

“Look at this.” I said to her proudly, showing her the screen.

“What is it?” she asked me, squinting at the tiny little timetable.

“Its our holiday fun timetable, look, it even says so in bold at the top of it” I reply like I am talking to a five year old.

“Are you serious?”

I give her a look as if to say: It’s THE PLAN, of course it’s serious?

“Can’t we just take each day as it comes, just have some fun?” she asked me.

“This is fun?” I reply meekly, waving the timetable at her. “I’ve got everything mapped out here. When to eat, what theme parks to visit, I’ve even got a two hour slot on Monday where there is nothing booked in, so we can just relax.”

“You will probably just spend it updating your stupid timetable” she replied with a snort.

I hadn’t thought of that……..

I sneakily moved my fingers over the screen to change the two hour relax slot into review timetable.

“What are you doing?” Kates asked me.


“Give me that phone!” she snapped.

I handed it over.

“I’m deleting this and we are just going to plan stuff as the day comes and you’re going to like it.” she said, her finger hovering over the big fat X that would delete the next two weeks of my life.

“Can we just not keep it for reference?” I cried, but by then it was too late, she pressed X and it was gone.

She could never delete the timetable, or mindtable, that was in my head though.

So for the entire duration of our holiday, I was constantly referring back to that like some mental Nazi Gestapo officer.

“Are you having fun?” I would ask her.

She would smile and nod back at me.

“Of course you are.” I would reply in a smug little voice, safe in the knowledge that this was all down to my holiday fun timetable, “Now let’s go have some fun over here……”

Everyone has their own inner demons and imps. Rather than fight some of them though, why not try and make friends with them? Once you get to know them, they can be quite funny, and if you ever got lonely, stop every now and then and have a chat with them. It’s better to live in harmony with some things that spend your whole life in conflict with them.

Oh, and I have named my imp Sean.

He likes that.


Eva Gallant said...

That could have been a conversation between me and my husband; I'm spontaneous, he's the planner. We make each other a little crazy.

Susan at Stony River said...

Cheers to you and Sean! I am ALWAYS on time, and very often painfully early -- and I'll just go ahead and say that being habitually late (are you listening, my entire crowd of inlaws AHEM) is not only rude and inconsiderate but also selfish, and I have NO patience with it.

Okay, there's my grumpies out for the day -- thanks for that! LOL

Does Sean like chocolate?

Kathy Sprinkle said...

Love this! I am never late either but unfortunately my almost three year old, who is ALWYS with me, is always late! Honestly this fact has been the hardest thing in my motherhood experience. Prior to this I would be waiting with you on Tuesday for our Wednesday coffee.

I refer to my inner imp as "my lizard" in reference to those time when my reptilan brin over rides all rational thought. I call her Fran and she thinks Sean is cute.

livesbythewoods said...

Sean lives in my head too. I try to keep him shoved away at the back, but he worms his way to the front to tap on the inside of my eyes and boss me about.

The little well-organised bastard.

Alice in Wonderland said...

I'm always early for appointments too! And I hate to be kept waiting if people turn up late!
Maybe we all have a Sean in our heads!

Long dark hair, blue eyes said...

I hear you on this one brother! I too am quite organised. What the hell is wrong with people? Why would anyone want to just see what happens? There needs to be a plan, there always needs to be a plan!

I like to use spreadsheets to organise my holidays. I think I would cry if my hubby ever deleted one of them. The one I did for our trip to Europe in 2008 was a work of Art!

I don't know if you ever played the game Baldur's Gate but when I did I spent the entire time re-organising my backpack, the adventure side of the game came a definate second to having my possessions perfectly sorted in the virtual bag. What could be more fun than that?

Anonymous said...

The minute I saw you reference Glee, I knew what I was going to say.

Glee - it's just terrible, isn't it?

Glad to have got that out of my system. As you were.....

J said...

This is not an invalid complaint;i totally agree with you that people must make more of an effort to be punctual. I have my life planned down to the most minute details so that i do not keep anyone waiting and make my appointments well before time.

BTW did you use that two hour empty slot going over your holiday fun plan again? Just

aladdinsane12 said...

oh my gosh, dan, i'm pretty sure we should get married. like now. and we'd both be at the church on time.

i'm sooooooo the same way. if i say i'll be there at 6:00, i will show up at literally 6:00 on the dot. maybe 6:03 if there's traffic. when it has to do with work, i'm there 20 minutes early. always. just to make sure.

Doctor FTSE said...

Blame the mobile phone, Dan . . .

"Is that you, Dan? Look, sorry, (I've locked my myself in the bathroom) and I'm going to be late"

In the brackets, Dan, insert any form of words that actually mean "I am an inconsiderate bastard who couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery"

Love the post. Regards to Sean.

JenJen said...

oh first I have to say that Kates? You are an incredibly strong woman. Keep up the good work. Hit the X.
Now Dan...I love this post. You never stop amazing me with what you write about. I hate tardiness too. I don't usually win with a husband and 2 kids who's goal in life is to make me late and full of ketchup for everything.
Sean~ you bastard!

hope said...

Could it be a British gene? Dad's family was from England and I'm just like Dad: always at least 15 minutes early. If I am ever late, check an Emergency Room near you.

Sean, I'd like to introduce you to my internal nagging system who tries to DERAIL me from being timely. She doesn't have a name but sounds suspiciously like American comedian Wanda Sykes. What does that say about me that I have a sassy black woman bossing around my lily white behind? ;)

Kitty Moore said...

I'm with Kate - and please say Hi to Sean! x

Kato said...

Hahah! I am sorry to laugh but I understand all too well. I USED to be just like you, but then I met Dave. The latest, most laid back person I have ever met, and he never let me make plans anymore.

It's funny because he has become a bit more how I used to be, and I am now like him. Funny how that worked out.

Thanks for the laugh!

mapstew said...

I am never late.

The towels all have to be folded the same way, small in front medium in middle, large at the back.

Don't even get me started on dishwasher loading.


Dan said...

Eva- Or could be the reason why you go well together?

Susan- I somehow thought you would be the same as me Susan. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing???

Katy- Hello! I don't think they should meet. Remember the key master and the gatekeeper from Ghostbusters? Bad things would happen.

livesbythewoods- They can sometimes get distracted by shiny things.

Alice- That is a terrifying thought Alice. I thought it was just me?

Long dark hair, blue eyes- I haven't played it, but I can see me doing just that. There must be an immense satisfaction in a well organised backpack?

Matt- Devils own show.

J- She wouldn't bloody let me. Women?

aladdinsane12- Jesus, could you imagine two people with this affliction getting married? It would be like a military operation.

Doc- I would have taken you for the free spirited type Doc. "I'll just turn up when I get there......"

JenJen- Note to self: Never have kids or get married. Cheers Jen, you've now set me on the right path!

Hope- Fight her. FIGHT HER!!! (Who’s Wanda Sykes?)

Kitty- He's waving back at you.

Kato- Kates is the same. She doesn't plan, she just does. Drives me nuts. YOU NEED A PLAN!

Mapstew- Oh God, please don't say you are a dishwasher Nazi? I thought that was just me. If Kates tries to load the dishwasher. just sticking everything in without no kind of order, I will be standing behind her shaking my head and redo it all when she is gone. Please, that’s just me, right?

ladytruth said...

There has to be a planner in the house or else armageddon would ensue. That's what I believe, at least. Can you guess who the planner in our household is? I call my imp Lucy. She digs it. Big time.