Creature of Habit

My order at my local café is so predictable it’s a joke. I’ve been ordering scrambled eggs with kale and tomatoes every Saturday and Sunday for the past two years. When there are new staff members, I explain, “Just so you know, I order this every time – because there is so much in my life that’s unpredictable, BUT THE EGGS I CAN CONTROL.” Everybody laughs. But the reality is that, even though I don’t live in a warzone, or live in fear of being deported, my life can turn to shit at any given moment – and frequently does.

People die, parents separate, farts escape your arsehole at really inappropriate moments on dates, stockings get holes in them, Metallica keeps releasing albums, tram drivers decide that they’re just not going to stop for you (even though you’re right there at the tram stop and screaming, “Let me on!” and pounding on the doors), people who seemed cool and had a cool haircut turn out to actually be really vindictive and mean and you have to break up with them and get into this long drawn-out process giving them their stuff back, and then you get a hand-written letter from them in the mail about how you’ve brought up issues from their childhood during which they lived in a cult!

I don’t know how to deal with any of this, and also live in constant fear that my being pissed off by these events makes me an arsehole. Some days, I think about this and say to myself, “Yes, I’m an arsehole. Time to embrace it. People can burn in hell.” But then moments later, I just want to give everybody a hug – because aren’t we all in this shit TOGETHER? I don’t know. Some days I really want to curl into a ball, or move to New Zealand. Other days I think, “Should I have become a doctor or something?” Then I go on positivity campaigns, telling random friends, “Hey girl, you’re great just the way you are!” which I assume is something I’m just trying to tell myself. The most unpredictable place, seemingly, is my own head.

Probably the thing that pisses me off the most is the way that people change, and your relationships with them are ever-changing. When someone recently resigned from my workplace, I took her aside, drunk, at our Christmas party, and said, “You realise you never discussed this with me. And I am personally not allowing it.” She laughed and apologised, but I really was struggling to get my head around the fact that YES, PEOPLE LEAVE, and that’s OK. But when something is good, I want it to stay that way forever and ever. I want to wake up and know that the good things in my life are still there and will always be there. Hence why I sleep with a stuffed animal (an IKEA dog, whose name is Werner Herzdog). Because he has no will. He cannot leave me, unless I dispose of him. And that will never happen.

So yes, I’m a creature of habit, and alternately an arsehole and the most positive person you’ll ever meet. Will I ever deviate from my weekend breakfast order? Who knows? And who cares? What does it even matter if I live by a very specific routine every day for the rest of my life? So long as I like the routine, that’s really all that matters. I mean, if my routine was shooting a dog in the face every morning, then that would be a problem. But seriously, it’s just the eggs! I admit it: I’m boring in this regard. But ordering randomly wouldn’t make me a more interesting person. Nor is being ‘boring’ necessarily bad. Let’s all just do our own thing, I say – and open tram doors when requested. Thank you.

Image: Thom Slinn

This article first appeared in frankie magazine issue 77 (May/June 2017).

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