In a few weeks the husband and I are going on a trip to France. I had been really looking forward to the trip until one day the husband mentions that we need to arrive at a certain place before 11am to pick up the rental car because their office is closed from 11am until 2pm. I look at him incredulously. Who takes a three hour lunch? I am lucky to have five minutes for lunch, but a three hour block? Daily? That is outrageous. People may need you, there is work to be done. It also explains why things went so poorly for them during WWII. A three hour break? And then it occurs to me, what if there are certain countries that are a bad match for certain people? And what if I have chosen the wrong country to visit?
As a friend once said, there are a lot of words you can use to describe me, but *easy-going* is not one that ever comes to mind. Since having kids I have become adept at easy-going's cousin, flexible. Granted it wasn't something that came naturally, but over time I have gotten there. Let's say you want to have the play date at my house instead of yours? Sure, I can work with that. Just give me 30 minutes to make my house look like the cover of Dwell and also bake some brownies. Someone wants to move a meeting from Tuesday to Thursday? Sure, let me just update my calendar. It will only involve moving about 10 other things. No biggie. If the French need me to be flexible and have a chocolate eclair instead of a chocolate savoyard I am okay with that. However, I can't *come back in three hours* when your lunch break is over to have them.
Flexible was something that was attainable. Flexible means you recognize that in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter if your child wears the red shirt or the blue shirt. Even if the blue shirt doesn't match. Sometimes flexible doesn't give you any other options, like when you think you are going to the library to spend some quality time with your son, but instead he vomits all over the minivan so now you will spend you afternoon cleaning. Flexibility is thrust upon you, whether you want it or not. Easy-going is a mindset.
I fully admit I am high-maintenance. I like things a certain way and have high expectations of myself and everyone else. You will rarely hear me utter the words *good enough*. Occasionally I have to be reminded that this can be annoying to those who love me. Like when my husband is hanging a picture for me and I tell him *an inch to the left, now a half inch to the right, now another half inch to the right, now up an inch..." until he finally gives me the look and I realize I have made him move the picture around in a complete circle. Twice. My husband has the patience of a saint.
So on the one hand I am really excited to go to Paris. Did I mention that our children are staying home? I will be able to sleep late, drink coffee and eat pastries and nothing else without worrying that I am setting a bad example, stay out late, linger leisurely doing whatever I want and actually read those little placards next to the exhibit in the museums we visit. On the other hand I am very anxious because I am concerned that the French will hate me and drive me out of their country. Perhaps I should have picked another, more tightly wound country? Like Germany or Austria or Switzerland. Singapore would probably be a good match. I am willing to bet that they aren't taking three hour lunches over there.