When I was 17 years old I stood in the doorway of a girl’s apartment at Dixie State College and pulled the best chick-getting move I knew at that point in my life.
17-year old Swamp Thing in gym shorts and a dirty Ohio State shirt: "You doing anything later?"
Bold, yet subtle at the same time. Brilliant, I know.
Petite girl with curls named Fiona: “Umm...let me check my planner."
Sorry, let me go ahead and interrupt this story to tell you that for full effect, download “Wires” by The Neighborhood, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.
Back to the doorway of Raintree apartments where a befuddled 17-year old punk was trying to understand the concept of a day planner.
Petite girl with curls named Fiona: “Well let's see, tomorrow I have dance practice, and then Thursday I have class. Friday I'm going to dinner with my roommates. Saturday I'll be in Mesquite. Sunday is, well you know...Umm...I am jam packed all next week and into the beginning of the week after. How about Thursday the 17th. Does that work? I can go...let's say...7:30?"
Cut back to me nodding my head in a glazed stupor responding to one of the most organized rejections I had received in my young dating career at this point.
Flash forward to 7:51 on Thursday, the 17th, where that same bum in the same gym shorts was sitting on his couch engulfing a mixing bowl of Cap'n Crunch and watching Jeopardy reruns, when out of nowhere a knock banged upon my door, and standing there with a detested look on her face stood the very organized Princess Fiona. Curls all decked out like they should be.
Princess Fiona: "So...are we going to dinner or what?"
Swamp Thing with a mixing bowl: "Umm...who are you again?"
Princess Fiona: "It's me! Remember two weeks ago when we stood in the doorway of my apartment and made plans to go to dinner tonight? You were there, I was there, we wrote it down together. What? Don't you remember any of this? You're joking right?"
Swamp Thing: "Oh...Umm...yeah...I didn't really put that on my schedule. Sorry."
And with that, Princess Fiona twirled her cape behind her in a fit of disgust and stormed off into the Thursday night darkness, thus beginning one of the most hilarious, on-again/off-again/what-the-curse-word-are-we-doing relationships I would ever have over the course of nearly seven years. And it all started the night when my plans and this cute girl with curls plans didn't align.
You see that's the thing kids, one of the reasons that Princess Fiona and I had one of the most rocky starts imaginable is that she had to have everything in order. All her dates, all her times, all her lunch appointments, her study sessions in the library, her recreational activities, her naps, her self-beautification, her meals, her classes, her everything was all jot and tittled down to the last second she could find. And it drove her to madness when the plans she made with some punk 17-year old kid did not follow through like she had envisioned. But that’s the funny thing/life lesson embedded in this opening story kids, things never go according to plan. No matter how badly we want them to.
Now lets jump ahead almost ten years from this point to see that same punk kid in gym shorts now standing at the pulpit in the church of his childhood, toasting a life lesson to a crowd dressed in black, all holding back bulges of tears over the lost friend they were grieving over. Different scenario, same words of wisdom. Words that had now finally come full circle and had sunk into his thick, semi-cracked skull.
“Things change. They always do. The things we count as constants in our lives, never remain. The paths we think will unfold, never do. The one certainty in our lives seems to be uncertainty. For example, three months ago I thought I had met the girl of my dreams, was going to be given the job of a lifetime, and that my Grandpa was going to pull through his latest battle with heart surgery. The expectations in my mind and the reality that came to pass, ironically did not coincide at all. I never got the girl. They picked another guy for the job. And well, last time I checked, this old man didn’t do so well after his surgery. That is the blunt truth of life. Our expectations almost never coincide with reality.”
The crowd laughed, the crowd cried, and the truth hit both them and myself that this point of Brocktrine was correct. What we think will happen, and what actually does happen, almost never seem to line up.
But you know what, that’s okay.