Remember when Elaine on Seinfeld had to decide whether a man was sponge worthy? She had a finite stockpile of her favourite contraceptive, which was about to be taken off the market, and she wasn’t sure whether to use one or not.
In this vein, I often ask myself: is this post worthy of public consumption? You probably have no idea how much time I spend thinking of blogworthy topics for my posts, how much of my mental energy goes into this amateur writing project, and how many potential drafts I create only to dump them because they are boring or inconsequential or, frankly, meh. Too much.
Sometimes I’m pleased by the response to a post I was unsure about, and other times I’m puzzled that a topic I thought would touch people didn’t. But I had no doubts about sharing A and J’s Excellent Adventure, and specifically the passport fiasco. I have received so much animated feedback on that particular post that I know it was widely read and discussed. But I’ve been surprised by people’s reactions.
Rather than your chastising me for being an idiot, as I was sure you would, I have been praised for my ingenuity and resourcefulness. Aren’t any of you guys parents? Do you praise your kids for leaving things to the last minute or, even worse, missing deadlines altogether, even when there are potentially dire consequences? I didn’t take you for laissez faire types.
Rather, I was expecting a firm smack on the bottom–okay maybe not so firm, since I still bruise easily–from all of you. [Insert here an image of a grown woman being spanked. I tried to find one but you can only imagine the results of that search.] “Annie, how could you be so irresponsible, so careless, so stupid?” But no, all I’ve gotten are kudos. I feel dirty because I don’t deserve it. Maybe Chad and Loomi, the superheroes at the passport office, do, but I certainly don’t.
All I did in those 24 hours was the best I could do. In this case, that meant readying for the trip and for an early morning visit to the passport office, and, ultimately, leaving our fate in the hands of others. If we managed to get on the plane before it took off, that would be great; if not, there would be other flights to our destination, and we would get there as soon as we could. Except for my grumpiness with friends on the phone that day (still sorry about that, guys), I felt I managed that crisis fairly well.
Why all the praise? Is it because I have leukemia? I know I’m not the organizer and planner in our family; those duties were taken from me a long time ago. I can’t claim brain damage stemming from my prolonged hospital stay, since long before that, J. was better at those tasks than me. So don’t give me a bye because I have cancer; I don’t deserve it.
Turns out, everybody can believe that I got us into this fiasco, but no one can believe that J. did. Unlike me, she has been laughed at, tormented, and ridiculed by her peers, who consider her the organization queen. Poor, poor J. You can stop hassling her now. Imagine her having to manage a household that I’m a part of.
Truth is, all any of us can do is the best we can on that day. That’s what I was hoping you’d take from that story. That, and that sometimes the stars will align just the way you need them to.