Thursday, March 14, 2013

Planning

My dearest D,

Over the course of our acquaintance, which I think is approximately 2 months old if one counts the text messages you began sending me before we met face to face, you have more than once teased me, or called me to task, or somethinged me, in regards to what you apparently see as my penchant for advance planning.  

Truly, this has taken me aback.  I don't consider myself to be much of a planner at all.  Quite the opposite, really.  Most of the time, I just feel like a barely-contained mess of impulses, a something-or-other of symptoms, like that person says about Zizek in that Zizek documentary, do you remember that quote, because I can't find it right now?  I certainly do not generally feel as though the ability and/or inclination to plan things are distinguishing features of my personality except in the sense that being both a stay-at-home AND working parent of two young children forces me to be rather uncommonly thoughtful as to the apportionment of my time.

I have been accused, at various times in my life, of being careless, disorganized, flippant, and inattentive, and also uptight, anal retentive, humorless, and overly punctilious.  There seems to be no real pattern to these accusations, apart from the fact that the characteristic in question is usually the opposite of a characteristic possessed and/or valued by the accuser.  So: I am a Rorschach me, endlessly pliable to fit whatever sort of displeasure my interlocutor would like to experience.  Perhaps this is true of everyone to a certain extent, but I tend to believe it is rather more true of me than of most other people.  Because when I used to be a waitress at French Roast - (remember, you asked to hear stories of my "waitressing days"?  well, here's one) - one of the other waiters was very skilled at drawing caricatures. And one night, he drew caricatures of every waiter at French Roast.  This was back when you were approximately 9 years old, by the way.  He had each person dressed in a characteristic outfit, making a characteristic gesture, saying a characteristic thing, and they were all very good likenesses and very well-observed.  Except for mine.  Mine was a decent enough likeness in the face, but really not as like as the others, and he had my outfit delineated in vague lines ("This is a long skirt - you like long skirts, right?"), and worst of all, the speech balloon coming out of my mouth just said "?????."  He explained: "I couldn't really think of anything you say."  And this was a guy with whom I got along really well!  We were both half-Japanese, for gods sake!  I was mortified.  Was I really that much of a cipher?   I wanted so much to be KNOWN.  

Of course, this was partly because I was so young, and kind of hesitant and mixed up (in addition to being enormously impetuous and stubborn).  If someone were to draw a caricature of me now, things would be clearer: the artist would most likely put me in a scoop-neck top with skinny pants and clog boots or possibly my silly muppet-butt feathered skirt, and they'd have me saying "Indeed," or "Lovely," or "Newborns have weird skin," or "In Persuasion, Jane Austen wrote," or "I was at American Apparel yesterday," etc.  But while this incident may point partly to the vagueness of youth, I also think that it illustrates a core truth about me.  To wit: there is a fundamental obscurity and complexity to my personhood such that I am uncommonly unknowable to others, and such that even I get rather muddled sometimes and find myself engaging in certain behaviors only because they match descriptions or ideas that I have heard from others about myself.  Like, for instance, that I enjoy planning ahead.

Anyway, I know that this issue does not matter in particular in the sense that it is not occupying any mental space for you: because seriously who cares if I am a planner or not, and as far as I can ascertain, you are happy to enjoy our friendship in any case.  But it has made me think some interesting things about myself, and I thought I might as well tell you about them.

I hope you are well; I am truly glad that your new roommate has been so lovely; I am not certain that I will have the chance to see you again before the month is up (planning!).  You will most likely see my husband, though, and he will bring you my greetings.

Much love, 
lks

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