Through no specific purpose or conscious design, one of my life mottoes seems to have become DO ALL THE THINGS (and probably do them Now, and definitely do them Well). There’s a reason I recount an incident in the introduction of the forthcoming Darkness & Good anthology whereby the Twinny One, Liana Brooks, tweeted that if you agree to a ‘small and simple’ Amy Laurens plan, you need to realise that you’ve just agreed to a ten-year magnus opus complete with references and footnotes.*
However. Being that I am not actually Superwoman (yet), trying to Do All The Things (Now + Well) comes with inherent perils and pitfalls. Mostly because, in order to actually attempt to DO all the things, my time/life/sleeping/eating/oxygenation is rigorously scheduled and ordered, because I MUST USE EVERY MINUTE WELL.
And yes. I have spontaneity scheduled as well.**
One of the most evident pitfalls, then, is that when every minute is booked out, Things That Go Wrong can often have a bigger snowball effect than they ought (which, yes, means that sometimes I overreact way more than I ought. Sorry ‘bout that *cringe*). Sometimes this leaves me feeling grumpy and put out that the universe is not magically aligning to enable my quest for superheroism; but other times it really just gets to the point of absurdity and there’s nothing you can do but laugh.
I’ve lost my wallet. This, in and of itself, is not an entirely unexpected thing. For someone whose time is so rigorously plotted, you’d think that a) I’d be prone to encouraging anything that would increase my efficiency (spoiler: I am) and that b) this would include having set places to leave things like wallets so they didn’t inconveniently disappear at regular (scarily regular) intervals. AH HA HA. You’re so cute.
Look, I have to have SOMETHING that prevents sheer hubris, okay? Misplacing keys, wallets, hairbrushes and sanity are this something, as well as my persistent inability to stop trying to kill myself with sugar and my inability to put myself to bed on time. I am secretly five. Whatcha gonna do about it.
Okay, so, wait. I have points here. My wallet is lost. Usually this is not a terribly stressful thing, because I know inherently that it is Around The House Somewhere, and lo, it usually is, and this turns out Fine. However. It’s actually been nearly four weeks (probably five or six by the time I post this) since I last saw my wallet, and it’s becoming moderately inconvenient. I can only say ‘moderately’ because of this marvellous and terrifyingly-possibly-maybe-insecure invention called my phone, which has a bank app on it and the ability to connect with things through NFC***, where ‘things’ in this instance means ‘payment machines that accept paywave’. Paywave on my phone, LIFE SAVER.
So there’s this post office just down from school, right? The people who run it are lovely, and I taught their child once upon a time, and said child was lovely and so the lovely people with the lovely child think *I* am lovely,**** and so visiting there is an experience of mutual loveliness. Also I run a not-a-small-business-it’s-just-a-hobby-I-swear with my husband sewing baby stuff, like dribble bibs and burp cloths and portable play mats and scrap bunnies. Pretty, and something I can create that doesn’t a) involve a computer screen and b) won’t be destroyed within a matter of hours, unlike, say, cake. (Though cake is pretty awesome still, let’s face it.)
So. Sew? So. Post office. Baby goods that need posting. A missing wallet. My time scheduled to the minute. Lovely post office people. A phone I can make payments on. Probably we can see where this is going, if we pretend my life is a novel, but I don’t generally actually go around pretending my life is a novel, so I didn’t see the inevitable conflict. Also, I’d experienced this IDENTICAL set-up numerous times before and everything had been fine.
Wait, that’s how jokes work, isn’t it? Round 1: all good. Round 2: all good. Round 3: HA HA YOU JUST SET YOURSELF ON FIRE.
*sigh* I knew my life was a joke.
In this instance, ‘setting myself on fire’ involved having a parcel that needed to go out urgently because the not-a-client-it’s-a-hobby had paid extra for express post, and a phone that randomly, for no apparent reason, chose that moment to stop allowing me to use it to pay for things.
Scan phone. Screen: Processing. Me: Nonchalant about the big green circle with the tick that’ll come up in just a second to show I’ve paid.
Just a second. Any moment now.
Okay wait just let me try that again, no one saw the big red circle with the cross, we’re good.
Aaaaany minute now.
Yup. Uh huh. Lookit me pay for things on my phone!
Spoiler: the phone did not pay for things.
Additional spoiler: the lovely people, because they are lovely, took the parcel anyway and assured me they would post it, but that I needed to come back tomorrow with cash.
CASH???????????? I am paying for things with my PHONE, and you want CASH??? This is the financial equivalent of asking a hyperdrive space pilot who hops back and forth between here and Alpha Centuri in less time than it takes to blink if she could maybe just bring the 1950s Toyota next time. CASH?! What even IS this thing of which you speak???
True confession: I once had to pay for $2.19 of groceries on card, because I didn’t have the cash.
Additional true confession: For several years that was a good story, until I paid for 39c on my phone at a grocery store two weeks ago.
BUT. Lovely post office people were doing me a HUGE favour here, and I was pretty epically embarrassed to be taking such advantage of their apparent good will, so cash it was, and tomorrow it was, because good heavenly frogs if not being able to pay on the day was embarrassing, not paying for a week was exponentially more so.
…Do we remember that bit about my time? And scheduling? What do we think, lovely reader? Did Amy have time in her schedule AT ALL the following day to get to the post office before it closed? Anything? Even half a thirty-second minute?
AH HA HA HA HA of course not.
And because ‘Think Things Through’ is not actually an item on my to-do list, did Amy remember to do this? Spoiler: No. No she did not. Instead, she realised AFTER she arrived at work that morning that a) the money was due, b) the husband had not magically acted as an intermissiary between Amy and the ATM, and c) there was no time to rectify either of these situations.
Spoiler: This story has a happy ending.
Additional spoiler: It involves my sister.
See, due to the aforementioned Lack Of Time, I’d already arranged for my sister to pick my son up from school, because it was Swimming Day and also Meetings After School Day and, my super powers being as yet disappointingly underdeveloped, I was not able to attend meeting, collect son, and then be on time for swimming. (As it turns out I’m not so good at just ‘collect son, be on time for swimming’, let alone adding in the first, HAR.)
So I called sister. PLEASE, PLEASE DEAREST OF ALL DEAR SISTERS, I probably began.
What do you want? she probably replied suspiciously.
I explained my predicament, promised I would immediately transfer her the money required, and she, because she is awesome, said that she would make it happen.
Apparently ‘making it happen’ involved making her husband do it (thanks, husband-of-sister!), which, I can only imagine the experience from the postal workers’ end: Hi, I’m a random guy who is not the husband of that disorganised-but-apparently-lovely woman you know, but here’s her money, because I’m here to SETTLE HER ACCOUNT.
(I don’t know what that’s in capitals. It just felt ominous.)
I’d like to pretend that this post has a sensible, thematic resolution, but—No, wait. I’d like to pretend that this post has a sensible, thematic resolution. There. Okay? Good.
Possibly we could thematise that Amy should not be allowed out of doors on her own. Maybe that if you want to schedule your life to the minute, not losing Important Goods like wallets should be a priority. Maybe that Having Friends And Family To Rely On Is Necessary When You Are Trying To Go Insane. Possibly that it’s not actually POSSIBLE to Do All The Things. Definitely that When Things Explode In Your Face, You Should Turn Them Into A Blog Post Instead Of Crying About Them.
Look, life’s crazy, okay? And if, like me, you’re trying to do too much, it’s just about insanity. Things are going to break. YOU are probably going to break. But you know what? That’s okay. Because really, we’re all just broken weirdos desperately trying to pretend the spandex is a superhero costume. It’s all good.
And when all else fails, laugh.******
* I like footnotes.*****
** I really wish I was joking. Alack. (Also, a lack. Of time, common sense, humility, you know. WHEE. SEE ME BE SUPERWOMAN, RAWR!!)
*** NFC. Not for consumption? Not for couples? Network for coupling, in the strictly technological sense? Nice friendly chickens. This seems most plausible. I’m calling it my Nice Friendly Chickens from now on. As in: Oh, I need to make a payment? No worries, let me just turn the Nice Friendly Chickens on on my phone!
**** I am lovely, of course, but the funny thing about people is that the more lovely they are, the more lovely they tend to assume you are. Yay humanity, etc.
***** Rather a lot. More so in this post than usual.
****** Though probably not at a funeral. That would be moderately insensitive.*******
******* Unless of course the speaker made a joke. Then it would probably be insensitive not to laugh.