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Sorry for the Inconvenience

Sorry for the inconvenience.

You’ve all heard this line before – it’s blasted in an email when the internet goes down at your office; broadcast over the public address system when your flight has been delayed for the third time; uttered without emotion by the receptionist at your doctor’s office when your wait has now exceeded an hour. What I’d like to hear instead is “Sorry – we screwed up!” Admit fault. Admit that what has happened is not only inconvenient, but also maddening. We all like our days to go as planned. And when they don’t – through no fault of our own – yes, it can be very, very inconvenient.

What is it about being inconvenienced that I find especially vexing? I’ll tell you what it is: my inflexibility. I have a schedule: rise before dawn; drink two cups of half caffeinated coffee with full strength half½ exercise; call my mother (on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays); write; run errands; walk the dog; read; sleep; do it all over again the next day. Friends and family members will attest, if asked, about my adherence to a strict schedule. They sometimes call me names!

I put up with their jokes because I like my schedule. I like it because I am getting my way. But the timetable naysayers have a valid point when they challenge my check the box mentality. They say it is often when we deviate from our schedules, when we are spontaneous, when we are inconvenienced, that we see something we wouldn’t have seen; we talk to someone we would have missed; we learn something.

When a friend asked me to go to the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, I gleefully texted “I’m in!” before I knew the details. Now I know the details. The bus that will take us there leaves from the Crystal Mall parking lot at 1: 30 a.m. And the bus home will drop us off at the Crystal Mall parking lot at 12:30 a.m. the following day. We will join thousands of other women marching and standing in solidarity for hours outdoors on a January day. I will definitely be inconvenienced. But I doubt I’ll be sorry.

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