September 17, 2002 11:51 AM

I do everything in advance.

Like. Hi. My birthday is in two weeks. As is the party (well, slightly less now). And I have a costume already. It has accessories.

Wait, you say. Costume? For your birthday?

Hey. It's tradition. There are people for whom my (recently poorly attended) birthday party is a social highlight. I have my people to think of here.

Yes. I have the costume already.

I'm going as The Feminine Mystique. Concept, not book. Entirely silly black fifties-ish cocktail dress. Coordinated faux-pearl necklace with screw-post earrings. [This sort of earring makes me think of Lady Macbeth. And we'll not fail. The most adorable girl in my high school played her in the Tom Stoppard version. Dominoes et dominoes et dominoes.] Perfect perfect perfect ca. 1958 pink floral rick-rack edged apron.

Sometimes I think we white people just don't get rep and rev, and I'm doing it all wrong. Sometimes I also think that we white people don't have business reading Suzan-Lori Parks. But I'm pretty sure I'm wrong on that count, and if I'm wrong on any count, I must be wrong on all. I'm embracing the diet industry's approach to statistical analysis today.

So. What I'm missing is a strapless brassiere, and appropriate legness. Shoes, et al. I always break down and get inauthentic with the shoes. Ideally, I'd also have two small vintage prescription bottles with labels for valium and whatever the trendy diet drug was between 1955 and 1963. Mother's little helpers. I'd put them in my apron pockets.

Sometimes I also think that no one is getting anything I'm saying. That I'm peppering these little bits of self with references only people who know will know. This annoys me on so many counts. I mean. A. Not true. And B. So? Right?

I had the party theme and costume concept in my head about a month ago. I start thinking in August what the party will involve. I need doilies. And mini-gherkins.

I manage my work day with little task lists. I've gotten so I keep them all in Outlook and on my Palm [Do I get a payout of some sort for this name dropping? A corporate sponsorship?]. And I plan out times of day when I will be reminded of each task, and times when I will do them. In between meetings, typically. I then completely ignore this plan, leaving me in constant worry that things are red, and they're passing passing passing away (the deadlines, which are generally just made up by me).

That constant state of worry. It defines me. I plan so much that the failure of anything to meet plan (which is the usual state of things) leaves me always unsettled.

Well, that's stupid.

But I have a plan for dealing with it.

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