Control Freakiness

28 12 2010
Cover of "The Metamorphosis"

Cover of The Metamorphosis

I think yesterday establishes pretty well that I have a need for routine and the reason for that is that I need to feel like I have some control over my time and my environment. I was thinking about that this morning and reflecting on my ability, or more closely, inability to roll with the punches. Talking again to my friend Kerigan, who was so rudely awakened this morning (for shame!!!!), he mentioned that he took advantage of the extra hour of non-sleep to knock out a few things online. Way to go.

I’m not so good at rolling with the punches and I need to get better at it. I need the comfort of my routine existence and control over my time. Note that I’m not saying I need complete control, nor am I saying that I need to control everyone around me. For in that direction, my friends, lies the control freak who cannot ever truly be happy. I’ve been called a control freak before, so I’ve spent more than a little time thinking about it. Control freaks live in a fantasy world where everything can be managed and where they constantly deny the free will of others. But by and large, I really don’t care much about who other people spend their time and what they choose to prioritize or how they do it, provided it doesn’t affect my plans. I’ve seen real control freaks. Those guys are constantly in everyone else’s business. That’s not me. Just wanted to establish that. No, really, I’m very cool with what everyone else does. I mean it. Just don’t dick with my plans too much, you know?

The life of the control freak, and its undoing, reminds me mostly of Gregor Samsa. You want your morning ruined? Trying turning into a big damn cockroach. Gregor tries and tries to roll with that punch, denying himself even this valid excuse as his plans and routines are abandoned. But there’s no escaping that he had crawled so fully into his routine and that life just doesn’t work that way. The others around him helped out of familial obligation, but anyone can see how quickly that’s abandoned once hope of recovery and the re-establishment of routine, which is the wrong goal for him anyway, become impossible.

For me, that’s the holidays in a nutshell. Holidays stress me out because they’re not part of the routine, rather they are, by definition, outside of the routine. The entire point of the feast day is the suspension of the ordinary (insert super serious Bakhtin comment here). An old schoolmate’s facebook post this morning read how much she enjoyed having her husband at home for a week, but how much it impacted her fitness, cooking, shopping, cleaning, everything schedule. I wonder sometimes for those of us who like things being routine and our incapacity to ever fully enjoy the moment. We’re always looking for that day when we can just get back to “normal.” Poor dude can’t take a week off from work without making his wife nuts and the world cannot celebrate more than 2 days of Christmas without making me completely crazy, too.

Nothing works during Christmas, which is why I was getting in the spirit of the New Year with yesterday’s post. I’m still looking forward to the new beginning and the establishment of order (again). I’m looking forward to the chance to make some plans and work on them and regain a little of the lost control of my time. Kafka gives us the cautionary tale here to not go so far with it that your life and happiness depend solely on order. Because order, in any real sense, is a fantasy and probably the scariest fantasy of all.




One response

28 12 2010

Poor Kerigan. I’m afraid he’s had plenty of chances to get used to rolling with that sort of punch…

Best of luck in finding the balance between routine and finding satisfaction in the day-to-day! I’ve heard that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, but really, no plan survives contact with reality.

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