Anyone who knows me knows that when it comes to my social life:
1. I'm almost always late
2. I don't really like to plan -- yet I typically end up being the one to plan things. It's quite the paradox. I think I must be good at planning, but it stresses me out. It's a lot easier to just let things happen.
Like a few summers ago, for example. My family and I went to St. Martin on vacation, and it was our first time in the Caribbean. Naturally, we wanted to see everything and do everything to have a once-in-a-lifetime trip. And it was! But as much as we participated in the local trends, like drinking BBCs every day (you have to try one) and trying soursop smoothies, we still had to have a plan, and that mostly involved my dad leading the way around the island in his straw tourist hat. There was a day I specifically remember where we drove around and kept finding "dive" beaches -- I know, how is that really possible in the Caribbean? Pretty much, they were less picturesque than some and had trash and broken Heineken bottles embedded in the sand.
Anyway, we had a plan and a vision in our minds about the perfect beach spot, but we couldn't find it. We were wasting our day trying to make the perfect plan happen, so I finally had enough. I told them to stop, because we were staying at the "dive" beach. We would find a way to make that one fun. And guess what? We did. The spontaneous, unplanned stop at that beach led to a bunch of memories we wouldn't have had elsewhere. We found an abandoned pier to jump off that led to this awesome picture of my brother face-planting into the water.
We found a delicious local food place on the street behind the beach. While there were definitely some plans that helped us out during that trip, this is why I think overplanning can be pointless sometimes. It's rare that something turns out exactly as perfectly as we envision it.
So the other weekend my boyfriend and I had a plan for what we were going to do Friday night. When we pulled into the Troegg's Brewery parking lot, they told us it was going to be full for the next few hours and we would have to come back. While I was disappointed because my Mad Elf craving would have to be put on hold, we decided to just go with it.
We went to a local restaurant/bar to kill some time, and we found two seats at the end of the bar and ordered beers. We were next to the sweetest elderly couple, the wife nimbly eating her pasta and the husband shakily sipping on a beer as he smiled at the middle-aged woman talking his ear off beside him. The woman was sipping on wine, and asked for a cup of ice so she could drop a cube in it. I've always been one to observe people and create stories about them in my head. Just ask my boyfriend -- on a regular basis, he either has to kick me under the table to tell me to stop staring or I'll start telling him about the story I created and he laughs along with me. Sorry in advance if I've ever stared at you -- I promise, it's purely out of interest! So anyway, I was perfectly content examining these interesting people while I sipped on my beer and talked to my boyfriend.
But then the funniest thing happened. I guess I should have expected it, since it was a few weeks after the holidays and I get mistaken for a 12-year-old on a more than regular basis. The woman sipping on the iced wine decided to talk to ME. She looked over and grinned as she asked "Was Santa good to you?" I inwardly groaned and forced a smile, preparing for an obligatory small talk conversation with someone who was going to treat me like a child. For the first five minutes, I kept looking for ways to end it. But then the woman mentioned a book I was interested in, and a half hour starts to go by as we gushed about books, writing, teaching (my boyfriend's job), my job, animals, etc. I felt like we were kindred spirits. It was one of those unexpected conversations with a common, simple, but extremely interesting person. One of those conversations that couldn't have happened if you planned it.
She knew by now that I had studied writing in college, and she confided with me that she had a book idea that she was working on where she had to interview people. She felt nervous about writing it, but I motivated her and told her she needed to write it no matter if other people liked it or not. I wanted to know her idea so bad! I tried drawing it out of her, but she said she couldn't tell anyone. She said it was the simplest idea, and I agreed that some of the best ideas were the simplest. We completely understood each other. Me and this middle-aged woman with her iced wine. I even tried telling her about the idea for my favorite piece that I had been working on at the end of college, hoping that if I shared my idea, she would share hers. Nope. She wouldn't budge - smart lady.
By now, my boyfriend was ready to go. You can't blame him, the poor guy. I can't help it that I'm a talker, especially when I have a beer in me. As I said goodbye to the woman, I told her she could interview me if she ever needed to for her book. Her eyes lit up. We exchanged contact information on napkins from the bar, and I warned her not to stalk me. She laughed and said "Honey, I wish I knew how to do that." When I looked down at the napkin she handed me, I was shocked when I saw her name was Leslie. I gasped and told her that the main character in the piece I was telling her about was named Lesley. She was just as excited about the coincidence as I was, and I explained to her why I chose the name -- it wasn't boring and stereotypical but it was still relatively common. She beamed.
My boyfriend and I ended up back at the brewery, and the night was perfect. Unexpected and perfect -- my favorite kind.
Because of Leslie, I'm considering changing the spelling of my main character's name. It was a sign! And I'm going to have to wait and see if Leslie will ever contact me for coffee and an interview for her book. I'll be sure to show her this blog post and write about it if it happens.
My favorite things are the simple ones: day-long book binges, cozy candles, dog kisses, ink on your hands, tree stars (leaves for those of you who never watched The Land Before Time) sweater weather, new ideas, local craft beer, punctuation, and knotty saltwater hair. Desserts are my favorite meal. I'm a creative writer and editor, and I created this space to keep my writing reflexes sharp and to share my simple ramblings with you!