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2022 – The Year of Spontaneity
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2022 – The Year of Spontaneity

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Bill Perkins

One morning last week, I was shuffling down the driveway to get the newspaper when something stopped me in my tracks. I tilted my face to the sky and pulled a long inhale through my nose.

“Oh no,” I thought. “The tea olive is blooming.”

I love the smell of tea olive. It would suit me if that aroma filled the air every day. If it were bottled, I’d spray it everywhere.

It’s not my nature to be troubled by inconsequential things. However, this troubled me. I cannot tell you when tea olives usually bloom, but I do know they don’t bloom in late December, even if it is almost 80 degrees outside.

That was just the beginning of what would become a cascade of troubled thought. Have I become such a slave to routine that an errant bloom would throw off my day? Apparently so. I’ve always thought of myself as a guy who took a laissez-faire approach to life. But my unseasonal tea olive assault led to a bit of self-reflection that suggests that’s not the case. In fact, I may be as predictable as the sunrise.

For instance, I eat the same thing for breakfast every weekday morning but Tuesday. I choose the same soft drink from the vending machine. If it’s sold out, I’m not sure what to do next.

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I go to the same places. If it were up to me, I’d go to Florence every year. I do the same things. I find comfort in the routine. Were anyone foolish enough to want to kidnap me, I wouldn’t be hard to find.

But recognizing myself as one who finds comfort in routine is an uncomfortable epiphany, especially when, on Christmas evening with friends, I found myself discussing Wheel of Fortune, likely because I watch it almost every night.

I lay the blame for this rigidity squarely at the paws of two beloved dogs, who must’ve learned their to-the-minute precision in Puppy School 101.

I remember watching a movie called “The Fly” years ago, and one scene stands out to me, although the rest of the movie is a blur. The weirdo Jeff Goldblum character opens his closet, and inside we see several identical blue shirts, khaki pants, and plain shoes. I wonder now how much that influenced my practice of buying several identical pants and shirts at a time.

I’ve never been one to set resolutions for the New Year, but I think I will try to make an effort to be more aware of my tendency to stay in my familiar rut.

But I won’t be going crazy with it. Barring unforeseen circumstances, my 2022 came in like my 2021 – while I slept, after having watched the ball drop in Times Square on Eastern Time.

2022 – The Year of Spontaneity. I like the sound of that.

Bill Perkins is editorial page editor of the Dothan Eagle and can be reached at bperkins@dothaneagle.com or 334-712-7901. Support the work of Eagle journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at dothaneagle.com.

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