Friday, July 27, 2012

The new order works for me

The Newseum.

I am a rule-bound person. I try not to be, but as a "J" in the Meyers-Briggs universe, I want to know how things are supposed to go down. I can break the rules if I like, of course. Some rules I try never to break, such as being prompt. I'm always on time, even for casual affairs like dinner at a friend's house. When others are not on time, I'm always surprised. Weird, hey?

Because I love rules, I create rules for myself all the time, unwittingly. I do something a couple of times or more, after which that thing becomes a habit. If I do it enough times, the habit becomes a rule. Over time what was once a random pattern becomes Divine Law, at least in my unconscious. And then I try my hardest to abide by the new law, even though it's just something I made up. Good lord.

For instance, I used to enjoy tilting against the heinous summer weather in DC. I would purposely go out at high noon, avoid shade and just keep walking or riding my bike till I was ready to collapse. I froze my bottles of water so I could pour icy water over my head, take sips while railing against Brother Sun. It was a ritual, me vs. the weather. Don't ask me why or how I got into it. Maybe I was trying, as I often do, to prove to myself that I'm stronger than I think I am. Or something. I don't remember. Whatever the original purpose, over time it became a habit, then a rule, then The Law of Summer in DC. 

Coming home after a punishing walk or ride was great. That first glass of cool water was the most refreshing, delicious thing you can imagine. The shower that followed the glass of cool water? Heaven on earth. Depending on the time of day, a seriously cold beer after the water, after the shower, completed the ceremony. It had to be in that order: cool water, then shower, then beer. It was the law!


I've grown out of my phase of summertime self punishment, thank God. Perhaps this is one of the blessings of early old age. Hence I snuck out for my walk early this morning, before the worst of the heat. There was a nice breeze, and too, I avoided the throngs of tourists who pour onto the mall around 10:00 a.m. I had to dodge the commute, in cars and on foot, but it was well worth it.

Interesting that I used the word "snuck." It felt like that, as if I were breaking the law. But there's no law against early morning walks. It is likewise perfectly legal to avoid the worst heat of the day. The shower following my walk was lovely, perhaps not quite as perfect as those I described above, but very very nice.

And now I'm going to continue reading the lengthy profile of Bruce Springstein in the New Yorker while basking in the slightly chilled air here in the chateau until clients arrive later today.

I like the new rule: walk early, avoid the heat. Yeah.


Elizabeth said...

Extra super photos today!
I'm a rules/prompt person too. English?German?
I love rules even if I break them. They make me feel safe.
I think one of the delights of being ancient is that one tends to let go of stuff that once got one down
as in, yup...that's how it goes....
less tilting at windmills for us oldies.
New Yorker article excellent but tooooooooo long for me.
Have a super w/e.

Reya Mellicker said...

YES, rules make me feel safe. I believe I understand the terrain. Of course I am often mistaken.

ellen abbott said...

love the picture of the leaves Reya. I am totally not a rule person though I do try to be prompt for meetings, when someone else is involved. No one likes to be kept waiting.

You may be breaking a personal rule, but hey, rules were made to be broken, especially when they serve no purpose.

Reya Mellicker said...

That I still feel compelled to tilt against the heat is pathological!

Reya Mellicker said...

Leaves in the butterfly garden, a sidewalk path that's part of the Botanical Garden, across Constitution Avenue from the DOJ, next to the NGA sculpture garden. 8th street? Not sure.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Meghan and I are rule people. We even feel a tad stressed when we see others breaking them.
My summer ritual is errands done by 10:00 a.m. and I stay in the house the rest of the day. With Meg home just now, I've been out more than usual. I feel like the heat is telling me not to be outside.

The Bug said...

It's interesting that you created a law that defies logic (or at least my father's logic - he would say stay out of the sun at midday!). That fits what I know of your personality as well - a paradigm bending law maker!

I am often out during the heat of the day because that's when my boss goes to lunch, so it's the logical time for me to run errands too. But I'm in my air conditioned car contributing to global warming!

P.S. I hate hate hate hate to be late - it feels rude. And Mike is, um, "flexible" about arrival times. A point of tension in our marriage, but not a big one because I just blame him if other people are upset :)

Reya Mellicker said...

Nice that you can blame Mike! Excellent. Part of his job description.

The only logic in my now repealed Law of Summer is that I had decided I would NOT let the heat stop me. So it was me against the heat.

These days I'm more like you Jeanette, taking my cues from the weather, rather than battling against it.

What was I thinking?

Pam said...

I don't think I'm a rules person until my husband or daughter run me late (it's against my principles ie. it's not ME that's being this rude!)and yes, it is a point of tension in our family also.
Also when some deliberately thumb their noses at what is polite behaviour that makes a society's rules work. I would make a terrible social worker, seeing too much dysfunction in schools by families that should know better, most behaviour related.
One interesting part about getting older is watching the young and inexperienced break rules where we wince in anticipation of the outcome. ie the young man telling his girlfriend/wife what he really thinks ie "yeah,your bum does look big in that" or recently my husband's niece yelling at her new mother in law to 'get f#*+#*".
No girl. She's gonna be around for a long time yet.
Rules around behaviour. You better believe how important they are. When many break rules do they either not think,or don't care about the long-term consequences?

Steve Reed said...

Look at the texture on those leaves! Are those hostas?

I've recently varied my running routine to run in the early morning rather than midday. It's definitely the way to go at this time of year!