Some people hate the very idea of routine, as though it were an insult to their delicate sensibilities. I am not one of those people. My sensibilities aren't all that delicate, actually, but I appreciate structure: where some people see a rut, I see a groove.

One of the consequences of this stance is that the office feels compelled to present a trigger warning before announcing any changes in procedure or protocol to me. (Sometimes I don't get any notification at all.) Now I'm the first to argue against "We have always done it this way" when this way sucks, and anyone who points out that she's just following instructions gets — rhetorically, anyway — referred to Nuremberg. But things that are changed for no good reason, or for a manifestly bad reason, incur my wrath, or some semblance thereof; and in the industry in which I toil, manifestly bad reasons are more the rule than the exception. Anyone who tells you nonprofit organizations are somehow morally superior is either not paying attention or is being paid off; as a proper capitalist operation yoked to a nonprofit, we are forced to jump through some utterly ridiculous hoops, and my tendency to note the presence of new hoops, and the inevitable ridiculousness thereof, is not always appreciated.

As I get older, I've noticed that the tendency to resist changes in my routine is growing stronger. There was a time when I'd mix up routes on the commute just for kicks, but no more. I'm beginning to wonder if I should even think about planning another World Tour, inasmuch as the best moments of such tours may have been the moments closest to chaos.

An unavoidable consequence of this hardening of routine is the desire to return to it after a departure. When I took a spill at the office yesterday, my top priority was getting back into the regular swing of things; it would have been perfectly understandable, and probably preferable from the standpoint of medical practice, if I'd taken to bed for the entire weekend to rest my bruised tissues, but much as I crave sleep, I wasn't about to cancel the week's grocery run (Saturday afternoon) or the unpleasant task of doing my taxes, which latter I wanted to get done before the beginning of Season Six of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which begins next weekend. This is not to say that I couldn't use some equine assistance with Form 1040, but the thought of having to write a couple of largish checks makes me bluer than Rarity's mane, and most of this money, I strongly suspect, is going to be spent by, or for, horses' asses.

(Incidentally, I toyed with the idea of returning to electronic filing this year after five years of hard copy; the realization that I would have to type in an entire 1095-B — the form which certifies that I have in fact had health-insurance coverage and therefore do not have to pay the mandated penalties for not doing so — persuaded me otherwise; in my judgment, it's easier to type an entire W-2, and no one wants to type an entire W-2.)

I concede that this insistence on doing the right thing, or what I see as the right thing anyway, over and over and over again, probably doesn't sit well with some other folks, and I would not be at all surprised to hear that it's one of several factors that contribute to the ongoing blankness of my dance card: even the humblest homebody will confess that she'd like some spontaneity once in a while, and I am perhaps unalterably dull.

When did I notice this tendency, you ask? Perhaps the most blatant signal came in June 2006, the last time I went car shopping, and my first choice was to replace my ride with exactly the same model:

This was the most logical approach, I thought; I would have essentially no learning curve on the new car, and since the insurance company didn't actually stiff me on the settlement, my out-of-pocket expense would be limited to the usual dealer markups. Accordingly, I began a search, and discovered to my dismay — though not really to my surprise, given the low volume numbers on this model — that poor examples of the breed were not all that common in these parts, and excellent ones were all but nonexistent.

I can change when I have to. But I won't like it much.

The Vent

  19 March 2016

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