The Ragtag Life

I'm that person who carries stones in my pocket so I can rub them between my fingers when I get tense.  I'm also that person who checks all the knobs on the oven before I leave the house to be sure the gas was turned off.  (I even do it in strangers' homes like a creeper).  And I'm the person who counts out exactly how many steps are in every flight of stairs, just because.

Guess the cat's outta the bag: I've got a little OCD.

Anyway, as a person with OCD tendencies, you might imagine I take an inordinate amount of pleasure in putting together jigsaw puzzles.  Every Christmas Day, my family would start a new puzzle.  It was perfect.  We would labor over all the pieces for hours, trying shapes in different places, figuring out how everything fit, and in the end, it all came together perfectly.  PERFECTLY!

Which is woefully dissimilar to the real world.  

In the real world, plans rarely go off without a hitch. Glitches are par for the course.  The real world is impossible to control, and yet we have to find some way to live with how all the people and things in our lives don't fit together in an orderly way.

I can't stand it.  I like my world in boxes.  I like to put things in their place.  But all week, I was reminded of just how orderless my hodgepodge life is.  

At my building, I've been taking down all of my old steel ductwork. And this past week, I didn't have the tools or skills to do the job, so I ended up swinging a 2" x 4" at the steel ducting like it was a giant metal piñata.  It was a chaotic, piecemeal process, but it got the job done. On the music front, my new album is sounding like a weird amalgam of bluegrass and Ray Charles. There is no rhyme or reason to the sound, but nevertheless, a bizarre new genre has been made.  And on the home front, I'm having a hell of a time coming up with a fast family dinner for my carnivorous husband and vegan son. So we have a lot of steamed peas with a side of prosciutto around here...a weird new staple has been born. 

Putting seemingly incongruous things together--be they sounds or materials or people or processes--goes against my grain.  But I'm learning that--if I can accept it, rather than try to make everything fit--truly new concepts can come to fruition.  In life and love, things don't go together perfectly, but that doesn't mean that they don't go together well.

Case in point, on Halloween this year, I threw together a ragtag group of family and friends to dress up as the equally strange combination of musicians in the Traveling Wilburys. We really were an odd bunch of people coming together for a group costume, but it was an amazing night, and now I can't imagine the night going any other way.  As cliche as it sounds, there really is perfection in letting things fall into place, rather than putting them in their place.  It's a good lesson for all of us as we go through our week, Reader.  I'll see you next Sunday. -Em 


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