I refer to The Plan.
I had always been under the impression that Planning, making plans, planning time, planning schedules and the like were part of what makes humans unique in the animal kingdom. Whereas the Grizzly does not sit down and draw up a list of things he will need for hibernation, we as humans would certainly have at least thought about it a few days before and set aside pyjamas, pillows, and blankets - maybe a good book, Ipod, or small television - before setting our annual alarm clock and descending into torpor. The female of our species might have also included a few pairs of shoes, not knowing how the weather or necessity would be upon waking from the six-month sleep.
We make lists. We plan things ahead of time. We use phrases like "according to plan" or "make a plan" or "upsetting our plans." I always thought we LIKED planning.
An accumulation of years in the Balkans, however, has steadily and inexorably eroded this misconception and misinterpretation of Darwin.
What I have come to accept is that here we are drawn to the Perception of Planning. It is needed to show that we have an idea about what will happen next or what we plan to do tomorrow, the next day, and five years from now. But this is just for show. In reality, we have are Revolving Plans which get made while we are already in motion.
Just as I might say to myself that today I will wash the car, it is not really a Plan until I have been in the car and am moving in the proper direction for five minutes - moreover, not even really then unless the soap has been sprayed on already. Then, retrospectively, I will be able to pronounce that I both plan to wash the car and that I have achieved my objective.
Applause all around.
Today - getting back to my intransigent inflexibility - the Plan was to go see a baseball game at Ada. I had never done so before so I attempted to plan it out: 1) last week I checked the schedule; 2) I informed my son to spark his anticipation; 3) we eschewed other possible plans for the long weekend to accommodate this; 4) mid-week, I RE-checked the schedule on Internet. But at the appointed time, the field of dreams on Ada was completely deserted. Nor were there any other disappointed fans milling about in disbelief. The schedule was published and was either a fiction or just a vague idea: in either case the upshot was the same. No baseball.
Now let's spot the errors. Points 1 through 4 were absolutely correct actions. But the error came BEFORE all this. I made the fatal mistake of making an actual plan. Everything I did was based on the erroneous assumption that Baseball would occur at the appointed time.
Sadly, when I saw the result, I was only slightly disappointed. This shows the extent to which the fatalism surrounding planning has infiltrated my brain. I shrugged it off (and people who know me will tell you that I am not often one for off-shrugging).
But later came the accusation of inflexibility. I planned to see this game and executed the plan (even if I was the only one). The friends who had also agreed to join us said I was inflexible because I stuck to the plan instead of changing it six times beforehand and ending up drinking coffee with them in Mercator. To them, I was inflexible because I did not allow the LATEST plan to override the ORIGINAL plan....
I protest this. We cannot be flexible at all unless we have a structure from which to make variations. If there are no plans, how can I alter them? And, in the absence of a better plan, why should I not keep the first one? Is life a picaresque novel in which one damn thing follows another without rhyme or reason? I don't want to accept this and therein lies my error.
Dear Readers, learn from my mistakes! Do not accept a plan as final when another one will come along! Learn to change plans at the drop of a hat! Practice dropping a few hats yourself! This way you will never be disappointed at a failed plan.
Or in the worst case, a frontal lobotomy would also work.