Can you really get up one fine morning and decide to be spontaneous?
Yes you can, but you want to avoid the situation where your day of spontaneity starts with doing laundry because you’re out of clean underwear, then a quick trip to the office because you need to drop off some urgent paperwork, and it’s almost time for lunch, but you don’t feel like eating out again after last night’s oily dinner, so you drive back home to eat, except there’s no food and you can’t cook because you’re out of oil. No; everything can be made better with planning, even—especially—your day of spontaneity.
Not everyone agrees. Mrs. Neo nearly rejected Neo’s initial marriage proposal because she thought Neo wasn’t spontaneous enough; she feared that an “I’m feeling lucky” kind of girl like her wouldn’t be compatible with a “Google Calendar” kind of guy like Neo.
But even though spontaneity, like equality, is just the sort of thing that disappears the moment you try to achieve it, Neo assured Mrs. Neo that he’d work on it. And he worked so hard, and the results were so dramatic that Neo won the greatest endorsement a single man can ever get: Mrs. Neo’s closest girlfriend said, and this is the exact quote: “awww.” (Mrs. Neo’s girlfriends tend to talk in italics.)
Matrimony seemed as certain as President Hillary Clinton, except one day Neo carelessly left his Google Calendar open on his laptop, and Mrs. Neo discovered that every alternate Thursday was “surprise romantic lunch” day; that their “spur of the moment” trip to the Caribbean was planned three months in advance; that you could get Neo to make reservations for a first-date anniversary dinner on the wrong day simply by modifying the entry in his Google Calendar.
Mrs. Neo was disappointed in a “you’ll never get it” sort of way, but she still agreed to marry Neo, ironically, “after much thinking.” What married folks know and single folks don’t, is that Persistence eats Spontaneity’s lunch every single day, day after day. Persistence is like science—it works even if you don’t believe in it.
(Speaking of marriage and irony, dear Alanis Morisette, “rain on your wedding day” is just bad luck, not ironic. Rain on your wedding day would be ironic if you were marrying a drought-protection insurance salesman for his money; a “no-smoking sign on your cigarette break” would be ironic if you were taking a break from making no-smoking signs. About the only thing ironic about Ironic is its title.)
Neo does understand the argument for spontaneity: that there is a fundamental truth in spontaneity because it comes directly from instinct, from your subconscious—a place unsullied by the scheming agenda of your conscious mind; the place where you somehow choose Coke over Pepsi; the place that tells you to cross the street when a black(er) man approaches; the place where, if you listen closely, you can even hear the call of Allah … yes, you can already see Neo’s argument against this reverence of spontaneity.
As Neo writes this (in Google Docs on his new Google Chrome notebook), he spies Mrs. Neo reading the Wikipedia entry on Asperger’s syndrome. Apparently people with Asperger’s Syndrome have a high need for routine: they like events to be scheduled; they prefer to eat the same thing every day for breakfast; they get anxious with any sudden change of plans. Mrs. Neo’s Internet-diagnosis of Neo’s condition is wrong, because Neo’s just written an entire blog post about what Mrs. Neo is reading, just like that, on the spur of the moment.
Not that Neo would ever publish anything that he wrote on the spur of the moment—every honest writer knows that it is only after the third draft that your words start to look spontaneous.
P.S.: Google has not yet responded to Neo’s request to implement a “randomly recurring reminder” in Google Calendar.