March 12, 2004

The Nutty Perfectionist

I’m nuts. Today I am nuts. I do not know why today is the day more than other days. Maybe the “nuts” police visited me during the night and sprinkled fairy peanut dust over me. I woke up nuts.

How can I tell? An early tip-off was when I was following a yoga DVD and my mind would not come into the room and join my body. It was in other parts of the house doing many different tasks. Or maybe it was the four different cooking recipes that I was working on in the kitchen all at once. It is important to find an outlet for being nuts and multitasking can keep it going pretty good.

Crying while standing in the shower was another tip-off. No, my heart was not broken. I was just feeling too much pressure from the shades – window shades. You probably are unaware of how stressful shades can be.

I promised to go with my wife to the shade store today and we were having a difficult time fitting it into my schedule. (When I get nuts I get quite a schedule.) We settled on an afternoon trip to the store – no need to waste my more productive morning time.

But then the schedule was trashed by a power outage during the yoga DVD viewing. Certainly I could not do yoga without a DVD to follow. God forbid I should try to make it up as I went along! I also could not do all the other things that I wanted to do on the computer. The power outage created a vacuum in which many scheduled tasks could not be performed. What kind of inefficiency was that! How would I finish my list of things to do?

Using my well honed powers of analysis, I suggested an early trip to the shade store so as not to waste the time during the power outage. We even called the store to make sure they were unaffected by the outage. (“We” means I asked my wife to call.) This change in schedule sounded good to someone who was not nuts, but it caused a lot of problems for me.

You must first understand shade shopping. Design decisions abound. Measurements have to be made and relayed to the store correctly. At many points this can be screwed up. And perfectionists like me do not like all those possibilities for failure – especially when we are nuts. It is hard enough on a good day.

I knew that I would not stand up to the pressure of all this if it had to be accomplished in a limited period of time. And the new schedule, which I had created to be efficient, was going to have a small window for shade shopping. I would be rushed. Today, I could not do rushed. Nutty perfectionists cannot be rushed. Therefore, I was standing in the shower crying.

I have learned that when I am crying for no good reason, it is time to reevaluate whatever corner I have painted myself into. It was the “I have to buy eight shades of different sizes and different designs in a half hour” corner. So I asked out. I asked to go alone in the afternoon when time would be endless. I calmed down.

Now “calming down” when you are nuts does not mean becoming calm. It means being just a little bit less wacky. It means bathing your body in liquid other than tears and remembering whether or not you have already shampooed your hair. It is not exactly “be here now” but it is better than “being everywhere else but here now.”

Will I be nuts tomorrow? I do not know. It comes and goes like a sponging relative. I have no choice but to let it in. It is fun for awhile, but it gets old real fast. But right now I am not worried about tomorrow. It’s only noon!