“What should we do this Friday?” asks Josh on Monday. He’s sprawled on the couch clicking away at his laptop, working. I’m standing in the middle of the room doing… well, I guess I’m doing nothing. This memory just has me vacantly standing in the middle of the room like a thoughtless moron. Apparently I had nothing better to do that evening.
“I don’t know. We don’t have anything planned?” I say. It occurs to me again that we talk as if married.
“Let’s just chill, then. We never do nothing.”
“Okay…” Josh mulls that over for a few moments. “Yeah. Yeah! Okay, on Friday we’re just going to relax.” He grins to himself at the novelty of doing nothing, not unlike the way a wealthy kid might grin at the thought of slumming it.
I am offended.
“No,” I stomp my foot like a toddler throwing a tantrum, “You can’t plan on doing nothing, that defeats the whole purpose of doing nothing.”
Josh’s grin widens as the novelty of it all continues its spread. “This is going to be great! You’ll get home from work at six or so, we’ll eat some dinner, put on a movie, maybe, read a little bit, and go to bed around ten because we have—”
“Stop it! Leave Friday night alone! You’re ruining it!”
I don’t like planning anything. Plans may have good intentions, but they always end up a little too strict. Like Professor McGonagall. Once planned, the possibilities of the event become limited. Unplanned, the possibilities are infinite. Who knows how Friday night will turn out? I sure don’t. But what I do know is that I could meet my wife and finish my novel. “How” doesn’t matter. That is the beauty of the unplanned event. So I have been very intentional about not planning my life. The results have been less than desirable. That said, according to science you cannot make broad claims based on anecdotal evidence, so I am continuing my grand experiment. No plans.
In response to my tantrum, Josh says “Okay, fine, you don’t have to plan anything for Friday.” He pauses before adding a curt “I will.”
I groan. Josh plans everything. He is the Hermione to my Ron. No, we aren’t married. Josh plans everything because he knows the truth: unplanned events end up, most of the time, not being events at all. For all we know, my Monday evening of listless standing in the middle of the living room could have been intended as an unplanned night of relaxing.
“Fine.” I say. I throw my hands up in the air in emphasis, feet still firmly planted in the same spot they were when the conversation began. I haven’t moved. “Do what makes you happy.”
Josh plans like a dog plays fetch—doesn’t matter that it’s boring and repetitive, it consumes all of his attention and gives him a stupid grin. Thanks to Josh, in addition to this Friday evening of doing nothing, every weekend through the rest of 2016 has been planned, which I find infuriating. Just thinking about it, I expend a vast amount of mental energy frustrated just by the fact that I have plans, while not even being certain what those plans are. Paying attention to what Josh plans essentially makes me complicit in the planning, so I ignore it altogether. But I will begrudgingly do everything he planned because I don’t know any better. It’s either A) Josh’s plan to summit Glacier Peak, or B) not plan anything, probably end up contemplating existence, love lost, and then writing a sad piece about my findings.
Josh grabs a pen and starts making his way toward the dreaded calendar like a twelve-year-old boy being lured in by the glow of porn. I know what people mean when they say “the old ball and chain.” No, we aren’t even dating.
Will Montei (’13) graduated with a major in writing and a minor in philosophy. He currently lives in Seattle, taking full advantage of the abundant local coffee and surrounding mountain hikes. He is an avid daydreamer, an old soul, and a creative potty mouth.