For instance, when I hear from friends news like – “we’re having a baby” or “I’m getting married”, before any form of congratulations escapes my mouth, I am already thinking, tax plan, cash flow, and life plans A and B [you know - do you have a plan B in case plan A doesn’t work out - can we all say prenup'].
Now I suppose this is an excellent trait for your tax advisor or even your lawyer, but I’m thinking maybe not so much for your friend.
Case in point.
Not too long ago I found a book written by an old friend who I had met in college. We had palled around off and on for several years following graduation but had lost touch over the years.
As I settled down to read what she had written, I couldn’t help thinking about how we had met.
I was sitting in a statistics class at a local community college waiting patiently for the class to begin and entertaining myself by watching the students that were timidly walking into the room and quickly finding seats near the door.
I noticed her right away, maybe because she seemed more self-assured than the others did. At first, I even thought she might be the instructor who appeared to be running late.
She stopped in the doorway and assessed the seating situation. Then she walked across the room passing several rows of desks while she cocked her head and smiled over her shoulder.
That’s funny I thought, she reminds me of a beauty contestant flirting with the judges as she walks across the stage.
Before she reached the last row, she spotted a desk that suited her and made her way up the aisle where I was sitting. Then with a slight flourish, she stopped at the desk in front of me, plopped down in the seat and flipped her long blond hair out of her face with the back of her hand where it landed in a messy pile on the top of my desk.
Hmmm that WAS memorable.
Now let’s see – back to the book. The Break-up Diet
I noticed that it had a cute cover, a table of contents and what’s this – a page of acknowledgements. Let’s see what she says here, “My greatest appreciation goes out to”….blah blah blah, my agent, some others, and Michelle somebody – “for being my best friend and chief secret-keeper since seventh grade, and for never suggesting that I come up with a Plan B.”
Urgh. Huh. Ouch. What? Could that be directed at – ME.
That did seem to be my M.O. I looked up from the page and began to think, I do remember – yes – there was a conversation. But – but a Plan B was a completely appropriate suggestion given the situation and her explanation of Plan A. Wasn’t it?
Your plan is what? I asked as my eyebrows rose slowly up my forehead. Did I hear that right? She was going to continue her career as a “professional” dancer [not the good kind] while she wrote the next great American novel and then retired on some tropical island. That – was Plan A.
Now as I have said, my brain works a little differently from maybe an aspiring writer, because I was thinking, ummm doesn’t “professional dancing” [not the good kind] have a shelf life, and considering all the aspiring writers out there, aren’t the chances of being a rich novelist pretty remote?
So being a good advisor, but maybe not such a supportive friend, I suggested that she think of other ways to make a living as a writer, maybe writing for a newspaper, or magazine, or even freelancing. Yep, I’m pretty darn sure I used the term Plan B.
Well, here it was in my hand, her novel [a memoir] maybe not the next great American, but not bad either.
I continued reading on, and the more I read, the more I realized that not only am I portrayed in her book, but I am also a bitter, divorced, wine drinking man hater. Note to my husband – I love you honey – that was long before I met you.
But in all fairness, she recently sent me a note jokingly describing herself as neurotic heathen slut with a Cinderella Complex so I guess we all had our issues.
Funny enough, it does appear that she has happily stumbled onto her Plan B even if she doesn’t realize it. She got married, she co-owns an online magazine directed toward women writers, she is a professional industry speaker and she teaches online classes. All perfectly acceptable, and might I say all within my suggested Plan B’s.