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You’re Great When Things Don’t Go as Planned & That’s Amazing

·424 words·2 mins

It has been a rough couple of weeks. Very dark. Some of the darkest, if I’m being perfectly honest.

And spontaneously, out of nowhere — Justin invites me out. I’d researched a new store I wanted to go to. Had mentioned it in passing. But I didn’t know if he was listening. If he cared.

That’s part of how I was raised, I guess. My mother wasn’t exactly attentive. And she was a terrible listener. Her issue is that whenever anyone else is speaking, she’s not really hearing what they’re saying. Instead, she’s planning what she’s going to say next.

So I grew up with the expectation that I might have to say something three or four times before the other person heard me.

And I’ve really only mentioned this store once. While Justin was driving.

So I figure odds are good that he didn’t even hear me. But he did.

And he’s planned a fun date for us to go look around there.

But then the day comes, and as I’m looking up the hours to see how late we can head out, I discover terrible news: It’s closed.

All week I’ve looked forward to this. It’s such a small thing. It really is. But I find myself crying. I’m far more disappointed than I want to be.

Justin says something kind in response. He sounds distracted. I figure I’ve overwhelmed him with my reaction — and he’s avoiding the situation. Which is fine.

But he stuns me later by presenting a new plan. An alternative date.

We head up to the Red River. It’s overcast and cool but tranquil. We watch someone launch a boat, gossip about birds. We admire the graffiti that people have left on the dam — although some of it is pretty derivative. (Lots of cartoon phalluses and disses of people we don’t know, identified only by their first names.)

Some artists didn’t have the gumption to climb down and vandalized safer areas, far from the danger. I suppose there’s enough inherent risk in vandalism.

And as we’re driving home taking in some novel scenery, I lean my head against the window and I think about how well the date went, even if it’s not what we originally planned to do.

Life can be so uncertain. In the small ways and the big ways both. And I feel so fortunate to be with someone who comes up with great backup plans.

You can tell a lot about someone from how they act when things don’t go as planned.


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