The Art of Being Unprepared and How It Can Actually Help Your Writing

Sometimes I feel like a total douchebag. Like tonight.

Tonight, I took Punksin to her Girl Scout meeting. Pudding wanted to go to and I had said he could go, mainly because the plan was to surprise Punksin during the meeting with some cupcakes to celebrate her birthday, which is coming up. This whole fabulous plan I had in my head did not happen, because last night I went out with my sister and only went to the supermarket on the way home, missing closing time by 9 fucking minutes, and then today when I was supposed to go out and buy the cupcakes, I changed my mind – which is another way of saying I fell asleep on the couch when I was supposed to go to the store and by the time I woke up we were 10 minutes late in leaving for Girl Scouts. Sayonara, cupcakes.

Although falling asleep on the couch instead of buying cupcakes for my beloved daughter is an excellent reason to feel like a douchebag – that’s not it. It’s not anything I did to Punksin OR Pudding, its what I did to myself.

So we got to Girl Scouts and of course the minute we arrived, Punksin ran off giggling with her friends and there I was with Pudding, who was only 10 seconds in the room and already sporting that “I’m-so-bored-I-would-shoot-myself-in-the-foot-just-for-some-fucking-excitement-around-here” look – as though I dragged his ass there. So I told him to pull out his iPod, because the last thing I saw him doing as we rushed around like chickens without heads to get the hell out of the house, was shoving his iPod into his coat pocket.

I don’t have it,” he said.

What do you mean, you don’t have it,” I replied, which now, as I think of it, is really one of the stupidest things people say, because we know exactly what we heard, but we’re just hoping that by repeating it, we’re reciting some magical incantation that opens up the space-time continuum so that we can go back and relive the moment except this time the person will say something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT and more in keeping with what you hoped they said in the first place, which in my case would be something along the lines of “my iPod is in my pocket.”

Of course, that is so not what happened, and instead Pudding said, “It couldn’t fit in my pocket.” That was a real fucking bummer, because it meant that I had to keep him entertained for the next hour and a half. Of course you know what that meant.

My iPhone.

Which meant I had to add games to my iPhone on the spot because I don’t keep lots of kiddy games on my phone wasting my valuable space. That’s why the kids EACH HAVE THEIR OWN IPOD. But noooooo, he had to leave his at home, which meant I had to lend him my phone, which meant no texting, no checking scores on ESPN, no checking my Ebay auctions, and no all the other bullshit totally awesome stuff I like to sit and do while waiting for Punksin to scout shit out or whatever the fuck they do in Girl Scouts.

So I resigned myself to my temporary but oh-so-painful loss and handed the iPhone to Pudding. Then I remembered that I had my Kindle in my bag. Good shit! I can read something, I thought. I pulled out the Kindle and read the latest blog post from my girl Jenny on the Block, who is NOT J-Ho but The Bloggess, and I’m reading some totally randsom shit she wrote about robot tigers which is totally up my alley because robots are cool and tigers are of one of my FAVORITE ANIMALS EVER and…

the fucking Kindle dies.


Then, a huge lightbulb went on over my head. Actually it was more like the lightbulb hit me in the head while yelling “you stupid, stupid IDIOT,” because it occurred to me that what I should be doing when I have free moments like this, is not Ebaying or texting or reading or wondering why pouring my tea over my cereal to kill 2 birds with one stone ever seemed like a good idea. What I should be doing…

is writing.

I mean, I’m a fucking writer, right? DUH.

So I rooted around in my bag and found a pen, which felt like a major accomplishment actually, because I have so often been caught out there without a pen in my bag when I should always have one handy, but now I have upped my game and HAVE A FUCKING PEN.

But – no paper.

NO FUCKING PAPER. No notebook, no pad, nothing.

This is the point at which I started to feel like a douchebag, both because my writing had not been the first thing to come to mind when I was trying to figure out what to do with myself, and because when it finally did occur to me, I was unprepared to actually ACT on it. What was I going to write on, the palm of my hand?

But I refused to be deterred by any apparent douchebagness. As you know, my moon is sitting in the house of I AM TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME. So I decided to go on a Quest for Paper. I capitalized that because I want you to know that this was not just me on a minor errand rooting around for scraps of paper, but more of a LIFE QUEST TO SALVAGE MY WRITERHOOD. Or WRITERDOM. Whichever one sounds better to you, that’s the one I was going for.

With all that said, I still figured that this would be an easy and quickly completed Quest. I mean, I’m looking for PAPER, and the Girl Scout meetings are held in a SCHOOL.  How hard could this possibly be?

I left Pudding playing some game on MY iPHONE, something involving hurling ragdolls at different targets, and started my Quest.

The halls weren’t dark, but the classrooms were, and except for the cafeteria where the Girl Scouts were, the school was deserted. So, because this is HOW I ROLL, I immediately started wondering if there was a psychotic murderer lurking on the premises, waiting in some darkened classroom for me to enter so he could carve an X in my forehead or nail me to a blackboard or something. Yes, there could definitely be a pscyho…


Possibly Lurking In A Classroom to Kill You

That made the whole Quest thing a lot more exciting, but exciting without fear, because I knew that no matter what, I was coming out alive, A, because this was my movie, and B, because I wasn’t going to be stupid enough to go into a dark classroom before TURNING ON THE LIGHTS FIRST. I have never been able to understand this in movies, where people go bumbling around in the dark, yelling stupid shit like “hellooooooo!” and “YOOhoo!!”, as if being friendly is going to make everything okay with the psycho. OR the velociraptor. I mean, velociraptors can’t even TALK.  And most psychos aren’t so interested in chatting. I mean, look at Michael Myers. Not exactly the world’s most sparkling conversationalist. And who can blame him? What’s the point of becoming friends with someone if you’re about to string them up on a meat hook?

I was determined not to be the dumb chick wandering around in the dark and falling down just so she could get stabbed to death. I was going to turn on the lights in every room I entered, and the first thing that moved was getting shanked.

God help the 1st grade guinea pig.

The first classroom I went into was, of all things, a music room. Lots of music texts and instruments and music stands.

No fucking paper.

Of ALL THE CLASSROOMS IN THE SCHOOL, I pick the ONE that has ZERO PAPER in it. My fucking luck. Then I realized that it also had no psychos or velociraptors, so maybe all in all, I was still ahead. Alive counts for something.

The next classroom was some sort of language/speech therapy room. Lots of toys. Filing cabinet with…more toys. A bookcase that really should have been called…a toycase. Toys, toys, everywhere, it was like I had walked into Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. But, as I turned to leave, I noticed a small copier by the door, with “Personal Property of XXX” emblazoned on it with a permanent Sharpie marker.

And in that copier…there was PAPER. So…

I stole borrowed some.

So, all in all, I managed to get some writing done, and in the process did a lot of good and creative thinking about how I would make shit go down if some psycho was running around in a school.

Or a velociraptor.




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