Ever since I was a child who used to start out building whatever was on the Lego kit box as the manufacturers intended, change my mind midway through, then end up with some hybrid of the pictured product and my own mental pictures during the process, the one thing I can say about almost anything I've ever planned out is that it never seems to turn out as expected. Sure, my creative compulsion, distaste for little details, and medium-short attention span have a lot to do with that...but it also seems to be a larger theme of my life in general.
Things far beyond my control often either loom menacingly in the distance, hurtling towards my world at terminal velocity before veering off at the last second like a game of cosmic chicken or descend conspicuously from the heavens like a gift from the gods themselves until I notice that the plummeting parcel looks suspiciously like a nuclear warhead. (Sometimes it's Hiroshima, sometimes it's Mars Bluff.) Financial equations solved by unknown variables, trains that time knows for a fact I missed held up for me to catch for minutes at a time, video models who walk up to me on my porch and turn out to be stalkery ex-con stage 5 clingers with horribly behaved children and colors for names...Shamalayan wishes he could come up with twists like these on a regular basis.
Point is, even taking into account the randomish nature of life in general, my own existence seems even more unpredictable than average (though it might be the rearview mirror effect...events during reflection on one's life may be larger or smaller than they appear).
Just as a minor example, just Wednesday afternoon, I had just finished making my (kinda) weekly question video and was taking my file serf cart back to my desk with a plan to post the video, waste the last half-hour or so of the day on the internet, go directly home, and lounge around in my bed glassy-eyed watching cartoons on my laptop while figuring out how to trick people into buying my book. It was a good, solid plan with a reasonably high success rate, and I looked forward to putting it into action and seeing it come to fruition.
Just as I approached my desk for final preparations, I was stopped by a co-worker who saw a couple copies of "FfYL" in the cart (hey, if they're gonna make me push a cart all day, I can put some of my excess pushing into the books...ain't using all of it for this salary anyway) and after inspecting it, informed me that there was a local bookstore that specialized in the work of talented, up and coming artists, but would probably accept my work anyway. She suggested I go down there that very day, introduce myself to the owner, and see if he'd let me hawk my wares from his shelves.
Of course, this would significantly alter my plans (they had already been changed by this 15 minute conversation that negated my end-of-work posting time which is why the video didn't go up until Thursday, but I'm not the kind of dick who goes "I don't have time to talk to you, I have to address my YouTube audience!"...yet.) but the chance to see my book on the shelves of an actual store was enough to call an audible at the line and change my play for the night. Sure, I'd have to postpone major parts of my plan and cancel some others...but it at least kinda resembled the blueprint.
After a short train ride, I found myself outside the bookstore and walked in, expecting a hard sell for a pretty alternative concept ("The book is...so yeah, it's like um...imagine if Dr. Phil was a 23 year old black guy...uh...who enjoyed intoxication, social networking and football in his spare time...and...uh...did stand-up...duh...it's based on my life but not based on my--okay, I'll leave now.") wrapped in a pretty strong cuss word. What I got was a great hour-long discussion of the entertainment industry, a few ideas about promotion...oh, and a request to come back for a book signing on Saturday.
Not only had the guy agreed to stock my book AND put one on the "look at me!" shelf directly behind the register, but I had just ordered a new shipment of books that UPS said would be here on Friday, just in time to make my first appearance as a published author (ugh...I promise I won't refer to myself as that too much, it sounds douchy) and sell autographed books to people who had no idea who I was or that they would be my fans one day. Planned to perfection, right?
Fast forward through some light revelry and an uneventful Thursday of refeshing the UPS tracking page, and come to Friday with me. I came to work today expecting to get one of the only job emails I ever open, the one that says "Your personal package has been delivered, please come to the 12th floor to pick it up". (The other tells me the locations and times of various office parties.) After I saw no such electrocommunication, I checked the tracking one more time to see that my package would be delivered at the end of the day...Monday.
As Monday is after Saturday, it would become a bit problematic. I sat speechless, blankly staring at the screen for a few minutes like when the Cowboys lose (haven't done it in a while :) ) and wondered who I had wronged to deserve this. I mean, I've wronged plenty of people...but none at UPS lately. I still have a few copies lying around, but it would look pretty pathetic to show up with like 4 books and a veil of disappointment shading my glowing comedic aura. I couldn't even figure out what the dress code is for a book signing (I'm assuming it's "AJ") ...now this.
For a moment, I considered the alternative, canceling the entire thing...but then remembered that if I did that, I couldn't expect anybody to show up to the reschedule since I probably would think the person was full of shit and not bother if the roles were reversed. The only choice became clear. I had--well, have...still hasn't happened--to gather up my few remaining books and head down there to meet my devoted readers...there'd still be enough prints for all of them. (Plus, if I only have a few copies when people see me, they'll assume my book is popular and want to buy it themselves...I hope.) At least, that's the plan. Let's see how this goes...