Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Just in case.
I have always had the habit, or compulsion, of being overly prepared. I use the word prepared, because I know of no other word that would describe the way I "plan". When I went on Olivia's outdoor adventure with the Girls Scouts over the weekend, mind you, it was a three hour long planned event, in the woods, which were located about five miles from our home, but I prepared for the event for almost an hour. Not only was I concerned about the temperature, and what should be worn, I had to take into account the possibility of getting hot, and uncomfortable. This meant layers, for both Olivia and myself. I also had to take into account, style. I wanted both my daughter and I to look "outdoorsy" yet casual, and not look like we were trying too hard. Footwear, and accessories, all taken into consideration. Even the way my braids were done seemed casual. Like I was "roughing it". I also made sure that I had tissues, and antibacterial, some band-aids, and water, because you never know...we could have gotten lost, and at least I would have been able to keep my child hydrated. Even stranger, I also always feel confidant in the knowledge, that presently, I am nursing my baby, so at least, in the event of an emergency, or some terrible catastrophe, I am a food source, and could keep my children alive. I am not sure my husband would want to partake, but the option is there.
I have also taught my children, as we live in bear country, how to react, if faced with a bear. They have been instructed that they are not to run, they are not to make eye contact with the bear (oh my gosh...could you even imagine!!) and they need to make themselves appear taller than what they are. They are to make noise as well, to attempt to scare the bear off. I also taught them that sometimes, a bear will try and bluff, and charge at you, in an attempt to scare you, and will most likely, not actually attack. (again...oh my gosh...can you even imagine!!!)I told them to remain perfectly still and allow the animal to run at them, because chances are, nothing will happen. (gulp!) They are also aware that if an alligator is chasing you, you must run in a zig zag motion, as alligator's can only run straight, and you have a better chance of escape if you use this method of fleeing. My poor 4 year old, Charlotte, constantly asks me if there are alligator's in Pennsylvania. She is always looking over her shoulder when we are outdoors. The girls also know how to keep safe in the event of a lightning storm, they have had their phone numbers and addresses drilled into their young skulls as soon as they could speak, and we have even established a family secret password, in the event that someone, other than David or I , pick them up from school. All this in preperation for God know what. You just "never know".
This "need to be ready" feeling within me, started young. I remember dragging 3 stuffed toys and a pillow with me, to my mother's chiropracter appointment, "just in case", and I also vividly remember how I annoyed my mother by doing this. I recall going to spend a week in Brooklyn, at my cousin Jennifer's house, and I packed meticulously, complete with small Steno notebook pages, illustrating what top was to be worn with what shorts, and accessories. I had drawn every outfit, in colored pencil, and labeled each with the day of the week that I would be revealing it. Overpacking was the only way I knew how to pack. I did, and still do, pack, taking into account, every, and any possible scenario that may arise. When I lived in NYC, I would go out to the Hamptons almost every weekend in the summer. I have lot's of friends there, and all weekend plans were always left to the last minute..ie; what sounded like the most fun. There were parties, and bars to go to. Clubs, and beach bonfires. Each of these all requiring vastly different outfits, and shoes, purses, and jewlery. My bags were so stuffed when I departed to the bus stop, for the journey out of the city each Friday. To lug it from my apartment and up my block to a cab, was a Herculean feat. I had to literally bring everything I owned, "just in case". I remember packing an Irish knit sweater, in August, because I thought that in the event of a beach party, and the temperature suddenly plummeted, I would look esspecially adorable in it, fire side.
This "just in case" mentality also spread into acquiring housewares. I lived in a glorified closet, when I resided in Manhattan. It was advertised as a one bedroom. Yeah right. If you enjoy watching TV next to a stove. You literally had to "shimmy" between the wall and the sink, to get into the shower. It was claustrophobic, and cave-like, but it was all mine, and I loved it. When I moved into it, I went to Pier 1, and purchased wine glasses. I had this idea in my head that I was going to have a small gathering. An intimate cocktail party. Just thinking about it makes me crack up. The word intimate would have been an understatement. Someone would have had to stand in the bathroom, and a few people could have stood on my futon. I had 12 wine glasses in my apartment, that never got used there, "just in case".
I was in Pottery Barn one day, on 1st or 2nd Avenue. It is no longer there. I was window shopping. I spotted a butter dish. I thought it was beautiful. I could picture the butter in it, and the breakfast table it would be placed on. I could see the fresh fruit in a pretty bowl, and the orange juice, in a pitcher, complete with matching juice glasses. Pretty folded linen napkins, and lovely Blue Willow china plates. There would be sausage, and a stack of pancakes, with syrup dripping down the sides of them. Maybe even some croissants in a basket, wrapped in a gingham dish towel. Fresh flowers in a vase, and light streaming in from the abundant windows. I could see it. I could smell it. I could almost taste it. I needed this butter dish, for my future life. Even though it wasn't here yet, I knew it would come one day. I knew this with every cell in my body. I knew this "just in case" would come to be.
And it did.