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Monday, December 17, 2001

It could be easier to maintain the good feelings I found over the weekend, if only everything would work out exactly the way I want it to. If that's too much to ask, then maybe I'll just need to learn to cope with the little annoyances that get in the way of my careful planning.

The ideal outcome would be for me to be able to throw all that careful planning away, and then to have random bits of good fortune to drift down from the sky, just within my reach. Because after all, my planning is my planning, which automatically makes it suspect.

Here's a small example. I was on my way out the door this morning, headed for the mall. I didn't know what I was going to do there, just hoping that something might inspire me. At this point in the season, impulse buying is looking awfully good, because at least I'll have something to show for all these shopping trips. Since I don't get the Sunday paper, I don't even have the ad sections to leaf through.

As I was on my way out the door, the phone rang. I should have realized that just because it's a week and a day from Christmas it isn't any less a Monday. An hour later, I'd answered the Boss's questions. No, let me try that again. I'd given the Boss answers to all his questions, without knowing or caring how accurate those answers might turn out to be.

These were the kinds of inconsequential matters that I could spend all day trying to get exactly right, or else just spend a few minutes getting almost right. Since he was asking more out of idle curiosity than any real need to know, I chose the latter course. The slacker's way. It still didn't get me out of the house in time to get to the mall this morning, though.

So that's one day down, four left this week. With plans for Wednesday and Friday, I'm going to have to make some compromises. I might have to go shopping at night or next weekend, as harrowing as these prospects look.

I'm also going to have to settle for being a less-than-perfect gift-giver. I can live with that, as long as no one calls me on it. We're in a war, you know. I'm lucky to be wrestling with these petty problems, instead of dealing with life-or-death situations thousands of miles from home and family.

That little dose of perspective is the gift I really needed. I'll head out in the morning with the same plan as today, and whatever happens, I'll be glad of the opportunity. And I'll keep trying until everything comes out exactly the way I want it to. Or until I run out of time. Whichever.

And then on December 26, I'll start planning for next year. (No, really.)



Sometimes the long walk down the driveway to the mailbox just isn't worth it. Today, for example, all I found were bills. If it hadn't been for the two hawks screaming in the eucalyptus tree over my head, I would have thought I was wasting my time. After watching them circle around each other and then land on adjoining branches, and hearing that piercing call resounding through the crisp, cool air, I felt a lot better about trudging through the mud for a few pieces of paper.

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Latest recommendation:

Bob, And If I Die Before I Wake, entry for December 16

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Higher and Drier (including an even better sunset)

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