Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Can You PLAN to be Spontaneous?

I have a confession. I don’t have a spontaneous bone in my body. I’ve always envied those who do. And, you can’t fake it…like being blonde. But, that’s not to say I haven’t tried.


I remember when I was young and single, I was sitting in a bar waiting for a friend, and a guy approached me and offered to buy me a drink. “What would you like?” he asked. I looked at him slyly and said “Surprise me.” Whoa, I had no idea where that came from. Maybe, I needed to cut back on the hair dye. But, darned if his face didn’t light up when I said that. It was plain to see—men like spontaneous women.

I was feeling almost giddy…until the bartender placed before me…a White Russian. I immediately had a flashback (yes, this is a flashback in a flashback) to when I was a child, and my father would not allow me to leave the dinner table until I finished my milk. I spent hours at that table. I forced a smile and took a sip. Yup, there was that disgusting milk moustache. I tried not to shudder. A promise was born at that exact moment. I would never try to be something I’m not. A promise that I have broken too many times to count. But even today, I don’t drink milk. It turns out I am extremely lactose intolerant. No apologies necessary, Dad.

A few weeks ago, on a Sunday morning, my husband asked me what I wanted to do that day. I tried to think of something, but I was drawing a blank. “Why don’t you decide?” I suggested, and then it came out of my mouth again. “Surprise me.”

Now, I don’t know what the opposite of spontaneous is, but whatever it is, that’s what I am. And, my friends know it and my family knows it, and my husband figured it out within five minutes of meeting me. During our first year together, he would say “I have an idea. Why don’t you put your hair in a ponytail and throw on a baseball cap and we can go out for breakfast!” Our eyes would meet… and we would burst out laughing! That was as likely as me traveling with just one bag.

So, we got in the car and headed west. I tried to sound all carefree (oops, broke that promise again) and asked “Okay, what are we doing?” With a playful look in his eye, he said “We’re going hiking!” I managed a weak smile and turned to stare out the car window. Hiking? I had no backpack containing a rain jacket, food, and fresh water. We live in Colorado. In my mind, to go hiking in Colorado without the right gear and supplies… well, it’s just dangerous. I was wearing flip flops, which would be little protection against rattlesnakes. I didn’t even have my knife! Ever since I realized that bears eat people, and Colorado has bears, I have not gone hiking without a knife. You may think that’s silly, but in my mind “silly” would be bringing shark repellant. I am never silly.

My inner turmoil continued. What if I slip and fall into a crevice and am forced to gnaw off one of my limbs, because I don’t have a knife. It could happen. I checked my phone and it was only half charged! And worse than that, I didn’t even have lip gloss with me. Trying to hide my anxiety, I went on the hike. To my immense relief, I wasn’t eaten, I didn’t get dehydrated, and I didn’t even get chapped lips. BUT, I did get dirt in my flip flops. Will the words “surprise me” ever come out of my mouth again? No.

I’m not spontaneous. I like to say I’m prepared…and careful…and only slightly paranoid. So, if you hear the sound of a promise breaking, it’s probably just me, telling someone I’ve just met that I’m “laid back.” I wish.

10 comments:

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Oh, I loved this! What a cute, cute post. I have to admit that I am spontaneous, but that's more in the way I like to surprise other people in a good way. LOL! I would be just like you in the woods, and alcohol + milk + ick!

XO,

Sheila

Elaine said...

Glad you enjoyed this, Sheila! I love to surprise others, too. I just don't like to be on the other end!

~Tablescapes By Diane~ said...

Hi lovly lady.
I love your post Elaine all your sweet storys cute.I'm also laid back !!! I would like to thank you so much for your sweet comments on my black and white Tablescap so sweet of you. I'm your newest follower on your blog now. I hope you have a great day.
XXOO Diane

Elaine said...

Thanks so much, Diane! I love to get feedback on my public "diary" because it just encourages me to keep writing!

once in a blue moon said...

oh you are a total crack up, what a fun way to start my morning lol, and for the record i never use lol, but i truly did lol, and i hate to type so its coming in quite handy.

love your wit~

Elaine said...

Thank you, Ms. Moon! Laughing out loud is good unless you are drinking a cup of coffee at the time!

CTannStarr said...

Big happy silly grin while debating this with my gal pals. I'm a wee bit too spontaneous it seems (LOL). Oh well... ;-)

laxsupermom said...

I'm not a big fan of surprises either. I'll go with the flow when others are in charge, but I'm a planner by nature. Great post! Thanks for sharing.

Lizabeth said...

You are a hoot! I am spontaneous but "guarded"!! I travel with a safety net! I love spontaneity- but mostly if it's my idea! LOL...

Linda said...

Haha! Sure saw myself in your comment about that backpack. I am know to have a "magic purse" and am prepared with anything and everything anyone may need.