~ Or: Life is what happens while you’re planning something else

The curve ball.  Sideswipe.  The unanticipated.  A swerve.  An unforeseen change in trajectory.

There’s an expression that is something to the effect of “expect the unexpected.”   For some folks, this is a piece of cake.  For others, it can end up being a schedule shift that can take down an entire empire.

Ok, I’m being a bit dramatic.  Having said that, Rome didn’t fall in a day, either.  Chew on that for a moment.

Events that take place what confound whatever color-coded perfectly organized scheduling methodology is in place.  That is the subject for today.  Rather than the typical thing where I dive into a topic and learn a whole, this tale is drawn from within.  Please join me on this wholly exaggerated æfflatus of inspired text-burst and let’s talk about All The Things.

What happened to warrant a post about a curve ball?

Advance disclosure: everyone is fine.  Please don’t worry.

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m not exactly the biggest fan of baseball.  Or most sporting events, really.  I would watch tennis with my father from time to time.  During some seasons were the Seahawks were looking hot, it was difficult not to follow along.  Home team pride and all that.  And now that we have an ice-and-puck team back again after who knows how many years, maybe someday I’ll go to the fights and watch a hockey game break out.

But back to the curve ball.

This is a term that I tend to use for the when plans change without warning.

Here’s an example of what I’m referring to.

The scenario

Say, for example, you arrive at work for your day job and start to settle in for the daily task list.  You get a phone call from a relative indicating that they are feeling unwell enough to warrant a “drop everything” scenario.  The short version being they are not feeling well and it is a doctor’s recommendation that they get checked out quickly to make certain that it’s not some of the more extreme possibilities.

It’s that “drop everything” scenario that constitutes the curve ball.

Having received said curve ball, everything else is figuratively halted in its tracks and we’re off to the races. It’s an important thing to do but that is a lost day.

Imagine then, if you will, that two days later there’s a similar curve ball.

Which comes with more curve balls.

Next thing you know your weekend is no longer your own and everything scheduled and planned for is figuratively tossed out the window.

I wanted to say literally tossed out the window but that would complicate the structural integrity of the screens that keep bugs out so maybe not that.

Follow-up disclaimer

If it sounds like I’m complaining or griping or kvetching, I assure you I am not.  There isn’t a single thing that I would change about the actions that took place in the aftermath of said curve balls.  While it may have caused for a smattering of unexpected time away from the œffice and a weekend of shrugged shoulders, there’s no way I would have done anything different.  Where and when we need to be for these things is frequently outside of the scope of our control and all we can do is act and react accordingly.

So no, there’s no complaint here.  Just an iteration of things that took place and how they pertain to the subject at hand.

Why blog about it?

The short answer is that’s just what I do.

Now for the longer winded answer!

See, here’s the weirdly paradoxical part.  I’m writing a blog post about this subject because I was unable to complete the blog post that I was working on about a different subject because of this subject.

Confused yet?

I sure am.

Please permit me to elaborate somewhat.

My blog writing process in a nutshell

Lately my blog posts have been about things that I find fascinating.  Everything from audio engineering basics to holiday history to why insomnia is a jerk to the joy of voiceover demo creation.  All over the map!  Some of these topics require a cursory amount of digging to supplement what is already floating around in my keto-compatible fatty computer made of meat.  Other times, like the one I was working on for this week, there’s a whole lot to learn about and it requires reading, absorption, potentially even m*th.

Between the day job with medical equipment, evening time with the family, and later nights working on various voiceover and music recording projects, I’m not possessed of a specific “This is my time to write blog” space.  What I tend to do is steal away a few minutes here, a few minutes there, a quick snippet or two in the in-between moments of being on hold on the phone, or waiting for reports to catch up.  During those moments of down time, I’ll pull up the window with the topic and write a few more words.  Or read a few more articles and ponder and then get back to whatever I was doing that was actual work.

For some folks, I imagine this sounds like a nightmare scenario.  For me, it sounds like a nightmare scenario to be perfectly Frank.

Or Bob.  Why do we have to be Frank and why is Frank so dang perfect?  Why can’t we be Cliff, Jeff, Bᵫffy, or Tiffany? Can’t they have a chance to be perfect for once? Fair is fair!  Come ON!

Nightmare scenario aside, since I started this whole thing last November, it works.  Sometimes the entries get posted by the skin of my teeth but it works!   Do I prefer to be a bit more ahead of schedule?  You betcha.  Is that a deal-breaker?  Is not being ahead of schedule going to stop me from the pitter patter?  Not really.

How the curve ball impacted the nutshelled blog writing process this week

Referencing the above scenario, you can probably see how the curve ball might have proverbially conked me in the face and knocked me on my tuchus when I wasn’t looking.  And then while I was trying to get my footing back, out came another one and laid me out for a near TKO.  Because of course kick someone when they’re down.  It’s the best time.  If you’re not going to kick them when they’re down, don’t kick them when they’re up either.

Those moments where I can steal away a bit of typing here? A bit of reading there? A bit of thinking everywhere?  Completely evaporated.

So last night I found myself staring down the barrel of a quandary:

Stay up SUPER LATE and try to finish the post in question and then frantically record the voiceover in the morning and hope that there aren’t too many edits to make.


Push it out a week and instead speed-write a post in the morning about the whole thing and call it a day.

I finally cried uncle at 10:30pm last night and crawled into bed resolute to attempt the latter of those options.

Why was there time for this post?

“But George,” you probably ask, “why then did you seem to have time for this post when the one you were working on has gone to the wayside?”

That’s actually a valid question.  For once.  I’ll let you have that one.  THIS TIME.

The short answer is: when I’m writing something off the top of my head without a whole lot of structure, it goes real fast.  This is stream of consciousness blogging at its (not very) finest.  Couple that with that one time I was able to test out of “Keyboarding” in high school because I already knew how to type moderately fast (that’s a fun story for some other time), the words tend to come out almost as fast as I can think of them.

Which isn’t that fast, really.  I’m a slow thinker, by and large.  But my typing speed and my brain function are pretty close to tandem at that rate so here we are!

So that’s effectively it.  This post is made possible by a fair typing speed and a slow brain working in concert to bring you words about stuff and things.

What to do when the curve ball hits

That’s the million dollar question.

Again, proverbially.  Wouldn’t it be something if that was literally the case?  Except would it be the question that COSTS a million dollars or the question for which the answer is rewarded with a million dollars.  What exactly is the million dollar question?  Open to interpretation, subject to availability, void where prohibited, member HBIC, all rights reserved, not actually federally bonded and insured, batteries not included.

Where was I?

Oh yeah.

Our reactions to curve balls can vary significantly given the circumstances.  Sometimes we find ways to make everything fit and it’s all good.  Sometimes it leads to a situation where we simply cannot possibly make everything work and something has to give.

This can be a cause for quite a bit of stress and tension.  Which is going to tie nicely into next week’s blog post but that’s NEXT week, and this is now.

One message I want to share for anyone who is in a situation where curve balls are flying everywhere is this: allow yourself some grace.  Whatever it is was unexpected.  “Expect the unexpected” quotes aside, you’re doing what you must in the moment.  Figure out all the other things later.

This is a great opportunity to practice compartmentalization.  In my case, it’s a matter of acknowledging that there is this new thing that must be done and the other things that I would like to do are not happening.  Acceptance of those types of things can be difficult for me and putting them aside challenging.  It is what it is, though.  It’s important to stop and breathe.  Take a moment.  Again, allow for that grace.  Self-care is vital in these high stress unexpected scenarios.

Whatever it is that you’ve been curve-balled with, please remember to take care of you.  It’s like on the airplane: in the event of loss of cabin pressure, the clear plastic Darth Vader masks are going to drop down from above.  Put your own mask on first before assisting others.  What good are you to anyone else if incapacitated?  Because at that point, you’re someone else’s curve ball now.

At least that’s my take on it.  Your mileage may vary.

Closing out

The experiential curve ball is an unavoidable fact of life.  Except with less Tootie and more realism.  It’s going to knock you œfftrack to some degree and that’s ok.  We can’t always be perfect at all times.  How we react to those moments and what we do in the aftermath is what counts.

Remember.  Allow for the fact that it was unexpected.  Permit grace.  Accept the circumstances.  Flow with the wave.

You got this.

Until next week!

-= george =-



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About the Author

Straddling the line between the arts - voiceover, music composition, session performer, album mixing - and the world of durable medical equipment. Probably should have spent more time playing on the balance beam as a kid instead of obsessing over Commodore 64 games.

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