True love may be finding that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. Mr.Everyday is doing a damn fine job of it! Now that we’ve wiped the stardust out of our eyes and reality is setting in, the hitherto charming differences are starting to wear thin. It’s time to beware the boyfriend. Or at least be aware in dealings with him.
I knew I was a sociable person but the reality of just what a big, crowded, noisy, busy life I have is becoming clear to me only now. He has ‘a regular Joe lifestyle’ and in comparison to mine, seems like citizenry to Coventry. He goes to work, he pays his bills, he occasionally catches up with an old friend for a movie or ‘the boys’ (exactly one-two-three of them) for a night of inebriation. Never forgetting the boy’s toy, his Xbox fulfils the function of his absorbing, fulfilling hobby.
I, on the other hand, run a tally of multiple books to read, constant ticker tape of output and input to the social media, people I ‘do coffee with’, ‘grab lunch with’, ‘catch a brunch with’, ‘take tea with’, ‘have dinner with’, party with, hang out with, chat up and cosy up with.
I have a busy life, he has a quiet one. But that’s not even the start of the problem.
I (rather successfully, if I say so myself) juggle these sometimes conflicting priorities and engagements in my life by careful planning and balancing. Ask anyone who’s worked with me how much I love Outlook! I keep my phone calendar synched to the various plays, movies, meets, luncheons, dinners, calls, gatherings, concerts and events that compete for my time. I’m the resident expert on places to meet that will suit the parties and purpose involved and also be convenient and accessible. I may be organized but I’m not boring. I milk the 60 seconds worth of my distance run to full capacity. Above all, this is my life and I love it.
He, on the other hand, ‘likes to take it as it comes’. Oh, how I hate that phrase! It scores right up there on the hate list with ‘going with the flow’, ‘keeping it flexible’ and ‘not over-thinking things‘. It makes me grrrrrrrrrritttt my teeth and growl like an angered wild cat. Tiny wisps of smoke start to curl out of my nostrils and flames leap out of my ears. It goes against everything I believe in, everything I stand for, everything I am.
I gave it a shot, I genuinely did. As with everything else I do, I conscientiously strove to live outside plans and schedules and organization. The result of that was that this is the sixth weekend that a much-awaited Pune trip has failed to happen. Calls have not been returned. Movie club screenings have been missed. People have been kept waiting or hanging for days on end and proposed lunches & dinners have still not happened.
I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the time. But it makes me shudder to think of how much more could have been done. Just think of how it could have been better! And I know it could have been done! More comfortably, less stressfully, at lower costs, for a longer time, better seats, more movies, tastier food.
Finally, I threw a volcanic fit. Yes, I’m not one of those genteel ladies who can ‘air their grievances’. The man was made aware of it.
The thing is, I realized that most people tend to live in a certain way, driven by their own temperament and the demands of their lives. There may be some merit to being spontaneous. But often I think it’s just an excuse for laziness. An unwillingness to take responsibility for some admittedly boring activities.
Being organized is not a hobby. I don’t go into raptures over the perfectly sorted-out filing system. Lists don’t give me orgasms. Bullet points are not my favourite accessories. But these things make my life easier; they really do. I would never have managed an active writing output, a demanding career, a large social circle and a family life without being organized. And these habits stay.
It deeply troubles me when things are not clear. And I am not compulsive about it. I know life is unpredictable and there is much that we don’t have control over. However, the purpose of an organizing system is to make chaos more manageable. I’m not as bothered by a plan that didn’t work as by a plan that wasn’t even made.
The trouble is, this works just fine for oneself. I have managed to be an organized person even while living with one rather messy person and working with several chaotic wrecks. In some cases, I have been able to influence (or indeed, bully) them into following my systems. In other cases, I’ve taken care of what I could and ignored the occasional stray sock that lands on my chair or loose-leaf papers scattered close to my table.
But how do you interweave your life with someone whose fabric is a different consistency and indeed, not even woven? There are common friends, social occasions to be attended together and ‘together time’. These have to be planned factoring in two different schedules and now, different ways of being. The last time I spoke to Adi, we estimated the most convenient times for our phone conversations, based on his schedule and mine but also his girlfriend’s and my boyfriend’s. On the other hand, Mr. Everyday’s modus operandi goes along the lines of,
“Yeah, we could catch that movie. X was saying he wanted to see that movie too. Don’t worry….I’ll go again with him.”
I feel not just murderous but like Velma Kelly in Chicago, singing,
Can chaos and order make peace?
I have a new relationship adage to add to the thousands of platitudes we’ve been fed over the years (and none of which are working right now, dammit!).
Few people die of a volcanic eruption or a plane crash. In most cases, it’s the tiny damn things that are going to kill us. So fug the differences in age, background, upbringing and language. I think we’re going to spend a long time fighting over the damn calendar.
And then he looks at me with that shy smile and says,
People like you make the world run. People like me make it interesting to run. Besides, there’s no one else I’d rather be miserable with.
…and even my diatribe, my rant, my tall declarations are silenced. For the time being. 😉