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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The No Problem Problem

I was having a pretty good day yesterday pain wise although it’s sneaking up on me at about 3 in the afternoon: I had been to the dentist AND the store then got home, did the sous chef thing for dinner because I do things in small steps, resting frequently and since it was starting to hurt, I got thinking about the no problem, problem.  I used to have this thought in my head when I was in my twenties and even wrote about it so it is kind of a twenty- something story but not necessarily.  It goes like this:

One day, you and a friend make plans to go shopping for the perfect red dress you want for a party the two of you are going to be attending.  You’re both very excited because you are also planning on going to a nice restaurant, spend hours looking for just the right thing and if there’s time, maybe take in a movie.  It was going to be a great day!!  So, off you go, giddy and filled with anticipation, your hard-earned money tucked safely in you purses.  You climb in the car and head for the mall.  The one with the upscale designer clothes, not the cheap rip-off ones you could usually only afford.  This was different. 

So you go into the first store on the long list of options, and there in front of you the dress of your dreams is draped fashionably on an oak table.  It was an awesome.  And it was your size.  You immediately ask the clerk for help, go into a changing room and try it on.  Perfection!  Every way you turned in the mirror, all the mirrors around you that gave you front, back and side views told you this was the one.  This was it.  You had to have it.

But then a thought occurs to you.  You and your friend had planned the whole day around shopping for this dress.  Would she be mad if you said you didn’t need to look any further?  What would you do with the day?  You know your friend already had her dress for the party.  It was too early for lunch by several hours and the movies didn’t start until after lunch.  Browsing bookstores is always fun but for three hours? 

And then, the piece de’ resistance; you think, maybe this dress isn’t right after all.  Maybe you can ask them to hold it for you for a few hours.  In your heart you know that’s not true but you question it anyway, driving a wedge between what you know and your doubt.   This was the dress.  But this wasn’t fair!!!  You planned the whole day around this….you LOVE to shop.   You are desperately looking for any reason, any one at all, to make this day into what you had in your head: shopping, shopping, shopping, lunch, and a movie.  Silly?  Maybe. Forty years after I wrote it, I can’t really relate to it specifically and of course, it’s not rational or even important in the scheme of things.  But it’s a pattern you can easily develop.

The thing is people actually do that, including me.  I’m not a shopper so the story doesn’t describe me, but can I get the “no problem, problem” syndrome?  You bet!   We all make problems where none exists instead of adjusting to the situation, because situations change…constantly.   We adjust, we transform, we accept, we try and turn it into something fun…or, we waste a lot of time doing what isn’t necessary and in some cases, make ourselves sick because of things we can’t control, don’t need to control and should in fact, stop trying to control.  Gosh, if only I could do that all the time!!!

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