I am an organised person, trapped in a chaotic life.
In my day job, I have to organise other people for a living. I sit at my desk like a spider in the middle of a web (work with me on this imagery), documents flying around, flights being booked, diaries being juggled. Executive Directors quake before my bossy instructions. And I’m really, really good at it.
In my personal life, I live in a hurricane of unanswered texts, forgotten appointments and double bookings. No matter how early I get up, we’re perpetually ten minutes late. For EVERYTHING.
“We’re the late family!” my daughter announced gleefully as we drove to school with Mummy gnawing the steering wheel in frustration, feet jammed into two different shoes – and those not even close to matching, a flip-flop and a sandal. Somehow the other sleek, groomed parents never explode into the playground, trailing hats and jumpers and, for some unknown reason, a packet of moustache stickers. I’m sure they’re not judging me; it’s just the coordinated Lorna Jane outfits and artfully applied mascara that makes them look that way. If I try to put on mascara before my first coffee of the day, it’s more likely to end up in one nostril or skilfully stroked onto an earlobe.
Every so often I decide that I’m going to reboot my life and get on top of the mayhem. I go and browse in the newsagents, my head filled with images of casually flipping open a diary and transcribing the details of a playdate at the time that it’s made. I picture how each Sunday I will sit calmly with a cup of tea, planning my week ahead and meeting all my deadlines.
Once the diary has been bought, I get very excited. I put down every upcoming appointment that I can think of, including the ones that I’ve only vaguely considered. I write to-do lists on every day for the upcoming week. “Buy diary,” I write by today’s date, and then I draw a neat little wiggly line through it, feeling pleased with myself already.
For the next few days, I’m evangelistic about my new diary. I drag it out at every opportunity. “Just let me grab the diary!” I sing out while I’m on the phone, despite the fact that my friend is proposing to have a coffee in less than an hour. I tell everyone that I can’t imagine how I managed without it. I arrive at appointments only seven minutes behind schedule.
Then the diary starts to be kind of a pain in the ass. The little pen keeps falling out of the holder. The diary is mysteriously always in the other handbag. My daughter borrows it and draws cat pictures on every second page, and then drops it behind the bunk beds. I’m externally outraged, internally relieved.
And we’re back to the unanswered text messages, missed appointments and double bookings. Guess we’ll just have to live with being the late family.
Now, has anyone seen my other flip-flop?