I just realized I’m predictable. You know those people who you see, who just go with the flow and everything always seems to be “whatever” with them? Yeah, I’m not one of them. I’ve never been one of them.
From the start, actually, I guess I’ve been a small bit contentious, and a big bit obvious. I’ve rarely given something new a chance. I would still be eating plain cheese pizza if not for my sister and best friend slipping some mushrooms under the cheese so I didn’t know it was there that one time. When I find a food I like, I stick with it, to the exclusion of a lot else.
Case in point: my wife and I like to get to Pizzeria Uno and/or the Olive Garden at least once a year or so, usually on an anniversary. She often orders different dishes to get some variety and to sample whatever she hasn’t sampled before, or at least not in a long time. I get pizza at Uno’s, and the filling penne pasta dish at the Olive Garden. Every single time.
In fact, I’m the person who others can order for and get it right 99.9% of the time. And it doesn’t just go for food either. When I find a show I like on TV, or a movie that is a particular favorite I will watch it over and over again. My favorite movie — Back to the Future Part II — I’ve seen 32 times. Yes, I keep count. Those shows and movies are like traditions to me. If you ever caught up with me on my birthday you would already know what I would be watching. That’s how predictable I am with most things in my life.
I remember when my oldest daughter was born, the first words out of my mind were, “Thank God she’s not Chinese.” Now, don’t worry. I’m not some Sterling-esque hater who puts down other cultures. I said it because one of the things people sometimes worry about with IVF (we utilized the technology to get both of our children) is that components from people other than the actual parents might have gotten mixed up. My wife — God bless her soul — having just given birth, just rolled her eyes and told the midwife, “It’s okay. He thinks he’s funny because we used IVF.” See. Predictable.
In fact, probably the only thing I’m not predictable with is music. I do my best to listen to a variety of music, and I pride myself on knowing the new bands and artists out there, the ones who aren’t so mainstream but the ones who are too. I’m looking forward to the “new” Michael Jackson album as much as I am the new Natalie Merchant, and my iPod will more that likely have artists like Marc Cohn juxtaposed with Jay-Z and the Dixie Chicks. I’m equal opportunity where that’s concerned at least.
And I have absolutely no idea how that came to pass. You’d think with my personality I would pick one genre and listen to it constantly, over and over, but somehow I’m able to get past all of that with music. I’m so glad that’s the case because I don’t know what I would do if I were predictable in every single aspect of my life. To my credit, I’ve tried several times to break some of my patterns.
For instance, when I moved up here. I’m not generally a risk taker. I’m generally the steady guy you can count on for getting things done, but not the guy who will pick up everything and go on an adventure the likes of which I did when I moved to upstate New York from Tennessee. Oh, and the time I threw my wife a surprise 34th birthday party. She was so shocked that even halfway through it she thought it was her friend and not me who threw her the party. She just couldn’t fathom that I could be so surprising, that I could orchestrate something like that when I’m usually so predictable.
I’m proud of those times when I broke my pattern, when I strove to be something other than what I’ve always been. That doesn’t mean that every time I break those patterns positive things happen. Not at all. Sometimes they backfire and I find myself wishing I had stuck to my predictable nature, but most times they are truly positive. So why don’t I do it more? Why can’t I be spontaneous more often?
Beats me. When you find out, let me know.