"Always behave like a duck-
keep calm and unruffled on the surface
but paddle like the devil underneath!"
Now I have no idea who Jacob Braude is, if this quote really belongs to him, or really any idea as to the veracity of any of it. And I don't really care enough to google it, even now. For now and for the purposes of our discussion, we'll just go ahead and assume it's legitimate.
Something about this little quote struck me. I've been ruminating on it over the past few weeks. It really just won't leave me alone. I can think of plenty more useful things to stick in my brain, but this whole duck thing is the one that has taken up residence. Story of my life.
I think the reason it's hunkered down into my long-term memory is because I would love to be that kind of person: Calm and unruffled, appearing as though to glide right through the waters of life, serene as a madonna, keeping any inner chaos or turmoil firmly tucked out of sight. People would say, "Wow. That lady really has her act together. How does she do it?"
I know a few women like that. I try really hard not to hate them.
Instead I tend to get kind of frantic, too often flustered and a little bit manic, and people that see me are less, "Look how calm and unruffled she is," and more, "I think that girl's drowning."
Take last Friday. We had to be two hours south of our home by a specific time Friday evening, as we had a rehearsal dinner for a wedding to attend. I arranged to pick Adelaide up from school rather than having the bus bring her home, hoping to get on the road 30 minutes earlier.
2:50 pm found me whipping through the house, throwing things into bags, wrestling Caedmon's fat feet into newly-shrunken sandals, throwing things into the back of the van, running in and out of the house as I remembered item after item we would surely need for our weekend away. My last trip involved an armful of clothes I'd snatched out of the dryer and then threw into the front seat. We left the house at 2:59. School gets out at 3:00.
I'm halfway to the school when I realize I've forgotten something important. I would have to pick our daughter up and go back home, killing our schedule.
I arrived at the school at 3:04. That may not seem terribly late, but for someone mildly obsessed with punctuality, that's 240 seconds of failure. 240 seconds for my hysteria to mount to a level that made me appear slightly wild-eyed as I entered Adelaide's school, snatched her, and dashed back out.
We raced back home (I mean, we drove the exact 55 miles per hour that is the posted speed limit on the country highway). As we pulled up to the house, I jumped out of the van, and began to run up to our front door.
I mounted the steps to our front porch and found not only a pair of my underwear waiting there for me, but in addition, swinging in the wind so as to taunt me, a pink bra hanging from the front doorknob, for the viewing pleasure of anyone passing by our house.
I thought I'd felt something snag when I went out the door that final time with a load of clothes to pack, but chalked it up to the universe plotting against me to make me late.
Nothing says, "Someone calm and unruffled runs this household," like undergarments on display in the front yard, right?