Spontaneous combustion

I am NOT a spontaneous person. Meticulous planning is more my speed.

I’m talking booking my holidays a year in advance, planning the week’s meals and compiling a rigorously thorough shopping list, pondering destinations to retire 15 years out and choosing my daughter’s name a decade before she was born.

DD, on the other hand, is the let’s wing it type.

So he gets a little freaked when I start wondering whether we should have pumpkin or lamb risotto for dinner a week next Wednesday. This isn’t idle speculation. I actually expect us to make a decision … and then I require his ETA.

And I get very wound up about lateness. Oh, I’m OK for the first 10 minutes. I sit there assuring myself I’m totally fine and dandy with it, but as the minutes tick past I start tensing up like a jack-in-the-box that’s about to burst out.

By the 20-minute mark I’m VERY pouty. Let’s not even talk about timing transgressions beyond that because they may involve tears.

I am trying to be more at peace with spontaneity and lateness but, like Charlie trying to get Lola to eat her dinner, this is a hard job because Alana is a very fussy greeter/meeter (struggling to find an appropriate word that rhymes with “eater”).

The limbo-like horror of waiting for someone is running late, or not knowing what I’m doing a week from Wednesday, virtually paralyses me. I find it impossible to get on with anything. I just pace and jitter.

Conversely, if you suggest – when a week from Wednesday finally arrives – that we should go out for Thai rather than have the lamb risotto I’ve meticulously planned, it has a similar, panic-inducing effect.

And so, when DD casually wondered on Wednesday night – over a glass of riesling and a plate of patatas bravas – whether I wanted to go to Chicago with him the next morning on his business trip, I almost needed to do THIS …


Just writing those words makes me want to do THIS again …


But I smiled casually and said “sure.”

Then he asked if I could organise leaving the country on such short notice and I smiled casually and said “Sure!”

What I really wanted to do THIS …


So he called Qantas to check if there were seats available on the plane. And for the next 10 minutes – as the nice woman tried to organise it – I felt like doing THIS …


After 10 minutes of faffing, the nice Qantas woman announced that yes, it looked like she could get me on the plane to Chicago the next morning. But she just had to check with her supervisor, so she put us on hold for a minute.

I’d moved beyond THIS …




But I casually smiled and acted like it was no biggie that I’d have to find my passport, someone to mind the kids on Thursday, Friday and Tuesday, someone to mind the dogs from Thursday to Wednesday, register with ESTA, pack, cancel a visit to jail on Sunday afternoon, cancel a drink I’d organised with friends at my place on Sunday night, ask for three days off work, cancel a meeting with my boss …

Then the nice Qantas woman came back on the line and apologised profusely. She couldn’t give us seats in the same cabin class together after all, her computer had glitched when it said “yes”.

I didn’t want to go to Chicago – for four days – with less than a day’s notice if we couldn’t sit together, so we told her to release the booking.

And, while part of me felt like THIS …


Another part of me was like …


Although I did feel a bit moochy about saying goodbye to DD at the airport. It didn’t help when he sent me a selfie of his champagne in the Qantas lounge with the quip: “Look at that fine beading!”

He’s followed it up with happy snaps of the jazz band he watched while drinking Oregon pinot in a cool Chicago bar.


How about you? Are you a planner or the spontaneous type? 

Song of the day: David Bowie “Changes”










11 thoughts on “Spontaneous combustion

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  1. Hehe. I’m a planner though not as meticulous as you. I find it more distressing when I’m the one running late. I hate being late and rarely am. What a shame you didn’t go to Chicago. You could have slept on the plane! I loved all your GIFs. They made me laugh 🙂

    1. I hate running late too, but have started to do it a bit recently since no one is ever on time. Actually, I do have a male friend I can rely upon to always be waiting when I arrive at the pub and the certainty is quite lovely

  2. Chris gets annoyed if i ask him that morning what we want for dinner… we r mostly dropping in to buy stuff on way home at 5.30…

  3. This was so funny to read… The GIFS summed up everything so well – I love Sheldon and the paper bag! I am definitely the planner type. Not so much with what to cook for dinner but definitely with other plans. At least you were willing to try to go to Chicago despite your inner hyperventilation! I would’ve just laughed off the suggestion with a big “As if!” Hopefully you can accompany DD somewhere fabulous sometime when he gives you more notice!

  4. This is hilarious. I get it. Although unlike your 15 years from now retirement planning dreams…I honestly worry too much at 44 how I am going to cope with old age in the future…e.g. if I open a really hard jam jar I will immediately think “omg, how I am going to open this when I’m 85″…ha. I will sometimes sit in bed and calculate how I am going to live off my super and what small town I can move to where houses only cost $30000. Go to Chicago next time…fab place I’ve heard.

    1. Life would be soooo much easier – and cheaper – out of Sydney. I think about that A LOT. You are funny – I’ve never wondered how I’m going to open jars when I’m 85!

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