Lately people keep asking me what my plans are.
What am I doing Saturday? Will I be at Rich O's Friday?
Here's a little secret: I have no plans.
What I have are impulses. Some idea or opportunity presents itself, and I go with it. I get invited to a concert to hear a band I never heard of, and I go. I hear about a cool bar in Maine, so I buy plane tickets. I sit in Las Vegas and realize that Death Valley is only a few hours away, so I rent a car. I just go and do it.
I also have habits. I do things because they're what I've done before. They're what I've become accustomed to doing.
Every now and then, however, an inkling or a desire or even a habit will turn into a plan. It will turn into a plan because I just had to go and tell someone about it.
This causes two problems with me.
First, it's just a lot of pressure, knowing a day or a week in advance what I'll be doing. What I have to be doing, because I planned it. I tell people that I'll be in a certain place at a certain time and, by God, I better be there. To do otherwise would be irresponsible.
The second problem with telling people my plans is that, once I tell them, they'll know about them. They can then begin to scheme and plot, because they know my plans.
This happened last month when, on the Monday before my birthday, my sister called me up to "casually" ask what my plans were for Saturday night. Her fiancé ";just happened" to be going out of town and so she "just wondered" if I'd be going to Rich O's.
All kinds of alarms started going off in my head, for I know my sister, and I was pretty sure that she wasn't going to let my 40th birthday go by without some fanfare.
These paranoid feelings were pretty much confirmed when, that Friday, she called me again to see what time I planned to be at Rich O's Saturday night.
As it turned out, the celebration my sister put together was suitably muted and not at all the circus I'd been fearing.
So the first problem with plans is pressure, and the second, in my case, is paranoia.
The paranoia I felt yesterday when a bartender at Rich O's asked me if I'd be there Friday night. He'd never bothered to ask my plans before.
That paranoia doubled when today another bartender asked me the same question. "Are you coming in Friday, Dave?"
What the fuck?
Here's another secret: I don't like surprises.
The good surprises (like the aforementioned birthday observance) mean you have to be all giddy and shit and act like you're having a heart attack and just generally be a jolly fellow while congratulating everyone on how surprised you are.
Secret number three: I'm not a jolly fellow.
And the bad surprises, well they're a different thing altogether, aren't they? Those are the surprises that nobody wants to tell you about. They don't want to tell you but they sure as shit want to be there when you do find out.
The third kind of surprise is neither good nor bad, at least on paper. Nobody knows exactly what will happen, but it's sure to be interesting and dramatic.
I do, and have, paid good money to avoid that kind of surprise. The only thing worse than having to deal with the unexpected is having to deal with it unexpectedly.
So now I'm sitting here paranoid, for no good reason whatsoever, simply because at least two people know my plans for Friday night.