Oh, Rachel. Rachel, Rachel, Rachel. If only it were that easy. If only anything for me were that easy. Alas, nothing ever is, because I have the super-human-like ability to suck every last ounce of fun out of anything. I like to think of it as the mental equivalent of overcooking broccoli. What starts out as a delicious and dark green vegetable winds up a colorless, flavorless mound of something that my guinea pigs refuse to even nibble on. That is exactly what happens to “fun” once it meets my brain.
Let me clarify: it is not a matter of not being able to have fun. I can do that, especially when a couple of beers are thrown in. That is not my issue. Instead, my problem is that I am not “in the moment” for anything because I am constantly anticipating what is coming next. For example, while everybody else is enjoying the beauty of the beach on a sunny summer afternoon, I am anticipating how I am going to arrange the various beach items in the wagon to ensure the most efficient method of getting everything back to the car. On Christmas morning, when the kids are tearing off the wrapping from their presents, I basically have a game of Tetris playing in my head as I anticipate how to get all of that cardboard to fit into our one recycle bin that is allotted to us from our town.
Some (read: my wife) would call me an anal-retentive freak. Others may call me borderline-autistic, someone who could easily pull up a stool and join Rain Man in a hand at the blackjack tables. I, however, like to refer to myself as a “planner.” So, in my organized manner, let me go over the list of those for whom I plan:
- obviously, for myself
- for my kids, who are usually grateful that I have not forgotten any of the pivotal pieces of sporting equipment for their latest activity
- for my wife, who is not nearly as grateful and repeatedly questions in a highly-sarcastic manner how she ever did anything with me not telling her how to go about each and every detail. And…
- for fictional characters in movies
You were probably following me up until that last response. I am not one of those film geeks who is seeking out inconsistencies in plot or costume design. That is so not the case for me that I can’t even think of an example to include here (and I really don’t want to ever have to do a Google search for anything that starts with the phrase “Star Trek episodes.”) Also, I am not one of those movie-goers who is upset with the characters for making foolish decisions. On the contrary, I am usually thinking that if that woman is stupid enough to go into the basement when she knows that she is being chased by a homicidal maniac, then she fully deserves to be disemboweled.
Rather, I am the individual who happily pays a small fortune for admission and popcorn, and then sits in the darkened movie theatre unnecessarily obsessing over the logistics of each scene. For example, I can easily become fixated on any romantic scene in a movie that involves candles. The character in the movie is never using just one or two candles—to fully set the mood they have typically lit at least fifty candles. The sight of this overloads my brain with all of the practical elements that involve such an act. First of all, it takes a whole lot of time to light that many candles. Secondly, these are never candles that have been previously used, saving the individual from having to use a butter knife to dig out the remnants of the wick from the wax in order to light it again. No, these are pristine candles, which makes me question if the character has a closet full of dozens and dozens of new candles for this very purpose. These are inevitably not cheap candles from the Christmas Tree Shop. These appear to be high quality candles from the likes of Pottery Barn, where candles cost a minimum of $25 each. $25 per candle multiplied by 50 candles totals $1,250. That’s a good chunk of change I am sure could be spent on more practical matters. Wasn’t the person in an earlier scene complaining about their son having a rare bone disease and how they couldn’t afford the proper medical treatment? Hey, lady: Maybe your kid could get healthy if you stopped dropping a fortieth of your income on freakin’ candles! Come on, where are your priorities??? And speaking of practical matters, who really wants to spend their post-coital moments walking around the house extinguishing fifty candles? I don’t care how meticulous you are, with that many lit items in your home, you are bound to forget at least one. And then what? You are wakened in the middle of the night by the smoke detector, and trust me—that is never, ever romantic.
“But Ted, that’s not the point of the movie!”
I know! But I...just...can’t stop...myself...And again my brain is back on the candles. If the characters actually summon the energy to get up to blow out all of these candles, then I hope that they take an extra minute to make a trip to the bathroom before they return to bed. These characters just made mad, passionate love And look at what they are doing immediately following that act: choosing to fall asleep in one another’s arms. I have fathered four children and have thus been sexually active at least four times in my life. Since I can speak from that vast experience, I have learned that there is usually some clean-up involved after such acts. Yet these characters just lay there, taunting me in their refusal to even glance at the box of tissues clearly displayed right there on the nightstand. Hell, I would be happy if they just picked up the discarded tee shirt from the floor and used that to freshen up with. Please, I beg of you, do something, anything that will ultimately prevent you from waking up after a few hours of sleep and finding yourselves stuck to one another. And don’t even get me started on the female’s increased chances of developing a urinary tract infection if she chooses not to frequent the loo. (I sure hope that she likes cranberry juice, because obviously that is all she will be drinking for the next few days.)
I would love to tell you that I am exaggerating all of this for comedic effect. Sadly, it’s not the case. This unfortunately, is just the way my mind works and I need to accept it. I should get used to the fact that I will continue to almost always be on time for absolutely everything (and if I’m not, there is usually a damned good reason, i.e. alien abduction, anthrax attack, etc.). And I need to get accustomed to the fact that while everybody else is captivated by the interplay between Batman and The Joker, I will continue to be the lone individual obsessing over who is responsible for changing the oil in the Batmobile.