Like most human beings, I am a creature of habit. We all have routines we follow, and wake up each morning with a certain expectation of how each day will progress.
Except I bring this to an entirely new level.
I am ridiculously methodical about how I plan even the simplest of tasks. Take a trip to the grocery store, for example:
- Make a list of what I intend to purchase.
- Re-write the list in order of my regular path through the store, ensuring there will be no double backing due to a produce item being at the end of the list.
- Plan to leave the house sometime between 9:00 am and noon. Outside of this window I have to compete with morning rush hour traffic and soccer moms who have either just dropped their kids off at school or are running their errands before picking their kids up from school. There’s also the potential for a long line of “Lottery Ticket Ladies”, “Money Order Monsters” (seriously, why don’t you have a checking account?), or “Rug Doctor Renters” at the Service Center. All I want to do is buy a pack of cigarettes before I do my shopping so I don’t have to make a second stop at the gas station and be heckled for money by the riff-raff of St. Paul’s North End. While I realize this time window puts me at the mercy of elderly shoppers who block entire aisles with their carts and don’t hear you saying “excuse me” eight times in a progressively louder and more irritated tone… I have to pick my battles. I’d rather deal with that than being run over in aisle 12 by a soccer mom pushing her cart full speed because she’s already late to pick up the kids and doesn’t have my impeccable planning skills.
- Make minor adjustments to the previous step if it’s summer and school is not in session. This usually results in an early grocery run to avoid the addition of kids bee-bopping around the store and J-walking across Rice Street.
- Check to make sure the blow dryer and/or hair straightener are unplugged.
- Check to make sure the cats have water (I mean, what if I’m in a car accident and no one is home for a few hours?)
- Check to make sure lights/TV/etc. are off.
- Check the blow dryer/hair straightener situation a second and potentially third time.
- Do I have everything I need? (looks in purse, says to self, “phone, smokes, lighter, wallet, keys”).
- Check the blow dryer again.
- Leave the house. Make sure no cats are near the door (I have this strange fear of slamming one of their tails in the door).
- Give the door knob a jiggle and push against the back door to ensure it’s locked.
- Get in the car, only to immediately get out and check the back door again.
- Arrive at the grocery store. Fuck. All three of my “usual” spots are occupied by other vehicles. I park one row closer to the store than typical.
- Enter grocery store to discover THEY’RE MOVING EVERYTHING AROUND AND MY “PERFECTLY PLANNED – NO DOUBLE BACKING” LIST IS WORTHLESS!
- Consider laying down on the floor and dying, but know that someone has to feed your husband, and muster up the courage press on.
- Manage to find everything you need in the store without incident.
- Upon exiting, experience a short panic attack when you do not immediately see your car, silently curse about the punk kids that stole your car, then remember that some bastards parked in your spaces, forcing you to adapt to the circumstances.
- Arrive home and meticulously put groceries away according to temperature (frozen, refrigerated, pantry… in that order).
Can you imagine what I was like when I was planning a wedding?
In conclusion, don’t cross me. If I can spend this inordinate amount of time planning and adapting for a simple grocery store trip, imagine what I could do if I didn’t like you?