7: Just in Time

7: Just in Time

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life

Just in Time

By changing nothing, nothing changes.

~Tony Robbins

“You are one of those ‘Just in Case’ kind of people.”

“What the heck does that mean?” I asked her, and she said it meant the opposite of a ‘Just in Time’ kind of person. “Which are you?” I wondered out loud and immediately wished I hadn’t.

“Oh, I’m a ‘Just in Time’ kind of gal,” she said with that smirk on her face. Why did I even try to be friends with her? She always made me feel like a fool. Why did I meet her every Friday after work for coffee just so I could feel bad?

“How do you know what kind of person I am? I might be a closet ‘Just in Time’ kind of person and you don’t know it.” I tried to lighten things up a bit.

“Oh, I’ll bet you have an umbrella in the bottom of that huge purse you carry all the time.” She eyed my purse with disgust.

“So what if I do? What if it rains? You’ll be the first one to get under my umbrella because there is no way you have one in that little change purse you carry.” I was not going to let her win this one.

“You carry that umbrella ‘Just in Case’, and I only carry one if it is raining. See the difference? It’s the way you are. You carry way too much baggage. It might even be the reason you have a weight problem.”

That did it. How could anyone be so mean? I left. I could hardly wait to get home, home where I would not have to think about what kind of person I was.

I stared at the door of my apartment when I got home. The note I left for the mailman was still stuck on the mailbox. “I am expecting a parcel. If it arrives, please put it in the plastic bag, inside the box, in case it rains.” I opened the door, reached over, grabbed the note off the box and slammed the door. Could she be right? Was I a boring “Just in Case” kind of person?

When I opened the refrigerator to get a drink, I noticed the rows of pickles and mustards and three kinds of “Just in Case” juices. I sat at the kitchen table and glared at my cupboards full of dishes, pots, pans, and at least fifty cookbooks that I had “just in case.” Just in case what?” In case he came back to me? In case I met someone new? In case I ever found someone to love and cook for again?

I reached for a hanger to hang up my coat. What for? In case someone drops by? In case someone might think I was a less than perfect housekeeper? I was more pathetic then I thought.

Wandering through the apartment, I realized I was a “Just in Case” kind of person. The bed. Oh the bed. I had a king sized bed. Me, alone, in a king sized bed, for what? “Just in Case,” that’s why.

My closet was full of three sizes of clothes. One size fit me, then there was one size smaller, and one size larger. That’s when I lost it. I grabbed an extra large plastic bag. Of course there were small, medium, and large to choose from. I chose the extra large plastic bag and started to throw out the small and large sized clothes. I kept holding dresses, shirts and skirts up to me. They were already out of style and they never really looked that good. They were all safe clothes; the colours went with everything, and the styles were as plain as unbuttered toast. One jacket could go with any skirt, and any shirt could go with all the pants. When did this happen to me?

I sat on the floor of my bedroom sorting shoes. I had had some for ten years and never wore them. Why? Because I might need them “just in case.”

It was after midnight when I finished loading the car. The Goodwill was the first stop early in the morning, then the second stop was the park for a run. The rain couldn’t stop me. Shopping works in all kinds of weather too. I bought clothes in my favourite colors and got my hair cut in the style I’d always wanted but was too afraid to try. It was late and I was hungry, so I stopped at the neighbourhood bar for something to eat just in time for the evening hockey game. The place was packed so I looked around for a place to sit. Arriving anywhere without a reservation was not my style. When a man offered to share his booth with me I hesitated: I couldn’t just sit down with a total stranger. Could I? I did.

He was new in town but the movers wouldn’t arrive until tomorrow. He just thought he’d drive around his new neighbourhood and see how it looked at night. We talked until the game was over and noticed the bar was clearing out.

I smiled when I arrived home and threw the parcels on the bed. I decided I’d keep my king sized bed. Just in case.

~P. Avice Carr

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