Monday, February 16, 2009

Bossy Betty: Routineer

Friends of Betty occasionally “kid” her about her propensity to maintain a certain schedule in her every day life. They mention her early bedtime, her strict feeding schedule, and the stars upon her calendar denoting her daily walks. They think (falsely) that Betty hampered by a lack of spontaneity.

Oh how wrong these people are. I can be just as spontaneous as the next person, if you give enough warning that spontaneity is going to be absolutely necessary. Give me enough time to prepare to be spontaneous, and I can do it. I’m flexible. I can bend and weave like a lithe boxer in the ring as life occasionally throws those jabs and punches that require swift and certain action. For instance, while reading a good book, I have been known to get a little crazy and stay up until 10:30 some nights. That’s an hour and a half past my regular bedtime. If a friend calls me up and wants to go out to lunch at noon, I’ll say yes, even though I normally eat at 11:15. So what if I risk blacking out from low blood sugar right there at the table in the restaurant as my friend is prattling on about her day? I’m showing spontaneity, aren’t I? Isn’t that what the world touts as being so fantastic? Spontaneity rules! Oh, it’s just so great to be spontaneous! That’s what we are led to believe! OK, well, why don’t we all just go live like feral cats in the alleys back of the mall, eating Long John Silver’s scraps out of the dumpster? Wouldn’t that be a life of spontaneity? Wouldn’t that just be so awesome, so adventuresome, so spontaneous?

(Betty’s getting worked up now; you may want to stand back from your computer.)

Why is it that spontaneity is so valued by everyone? I say it has been used like a weapon and a crutch by all the non-planners of the world, and for too long we who take it upon ourselves to have the foresight to plan and the discipline to carry out those plans have allowed ourselves to be bullied by this warped and falsely-worshipped concept.

It’s time for those of us who like schedules, lists and routines to stand up and be proud of our nature. We ARE Routineers!* We will be ashamed of it no longer! You! Hiding your alphabetized grocery list! Bring it out! You over there, making up excuses why you can’t go to the movies at the last minute, say it: “I had already planned to wash, dry and iron my sheets and I am going to do it AND I’m going to LOVE doing it!” Shout out your adherence to reading the newspaper in a certain order. (1) Front section, 2)Local News, 3)Features, 3a) Hints from Heloise, 3b) Annie’s Mailbox, 3c) Dr. Gott.) Proclaim it! Hide your regularity no longer! Declare that Wednesday night IS Pizza Night: always has been and always will be!

(By the way, wouldn’t The Routineers be a fantastic mascot for a High School sports team? The team would always play the same opposing teams on the same schedule, at the same time every week. The snacks at the game would always be the same. The cheers on the field would be scheduled at 3 minute intervals and be chanted in the same order every game. At 9:15pm everyone would check his/her watch and go home to go to bed. Go Routineers! Go! In a swift and orderly fashion!)

Here’s Betty’s take on it: These lists and routines are actually the only way to keep a wild filly such as myself in check. They are the pens, fences, and corrals that allow a free-spirited creature such as myself to operate in the world. I think that’s the way it is with all my fellow Routineers. We NEED these self-imposed boundaries because we are all just a little too exciting. What a minute! I guess that makes all those spontaneous people the dullards, the ones who need the “stimulation” that unscheduled events bring to them.

Oh, my people. I am sorry I did not understand this sooner. Your kidding, your quips, your disparaging remarks about Betty’s schedule and her adherence to it have all been signs of jealousy, desperate cries for assistance. I now understand and can help. I shall schedule in a time (9:00-9:15am tomorrow) to make lists for you. With your lists, a sense of boundaries in your otherwise boundry-less worlds, and regular feeding schedules, you will no longer be bound to that wheel of fire that IS Spontaneity. Instead, you will be free join the exciting life: the life of the Routineer. Congratulations. We'll have a celebratory snack at 2:13pm. Don't be late.

(*Routineer: One who adheres to or insists on routine.)


Anonymous said...

"Grasshopper," said the butterflies, "we like talking to you. We will meet you every day at this time. We will sit on this mushroom. You will sit right there. We will tell you all about our scratching and our flying. We will tell you about our napping and dreaming. You will listen just the way you are listening now."

"No," said Grasshopper. "I am sorry, but I will not be here. I will be moving on. I will be doing new things."

"That is too bad," said the butterflies. "We will miss you. Grasshopper, do you really do something different every day of your life?"

"Always," said Grasshopper. "Always and always." He said goodbye to the butterflies and walked quickly down the road."

-- Arnold Lobel
Grasshopper on the Road

Bossy Betty said...

OH! This is so lovely! Betty is going to cry!

Thanks, Brian!

Anonymous said...

so, where's my list?

prerna said...

Love love this post. I am through and through a routineer and I will surely be linking to this amazing post when I talk about my addiction to routines and schedules:-)
Blessings and best wishes always!