You have no idea ghow much of my life runs on routine. I had no idea until things started to get back to "normal."
After the fire I lived in the hotel for a month or so. I moved into the temporary house Feb. 1, and then we got hit with a blizzard that basically disrupted the normal flow of events in our life for two weeks. This is the first week that schools have opened at their regular time, that my work wasn't sending out emails about the work-from-home policy and emergency contact lists, and the first week I get to drive my Camaro regularly again.
See, when there's no school, I get to take my spouse's car. It's a nice one, a copper-colored HHR. My teen says it looks like an orange clown-car. She's totally wrong and has no taste whatsoever. I've wanted a copper-colored car since they started making them, and even though it's not a Murano, it's still pretty cool. I love driving it.
My Camaro is a hunter green, 1994 with T-Tops. It leaks about a quart of oil every two days (I consider it helping to weather proof the interstate). The driver's side power window goes down nice and smooth, but the weather strip outside comes up with the window when you try to raise it back up. The heater core went up last summer, so I bypassed it. This winter, I've regretted that decision, even though it would have cost me over a grand to have it fixed. (For those who don't have older cars that suck donkey balls, that means I don't have a heater this winter.) It's an uncomfortable ride.
But when I started driving it every day to work again, I got this inexplicable sense of relief. Driving my car is an exercise in embarrassment and discomfort, and yet there I was feeling damned GOOD to be freezing my balls off on the 90-minute commute to and from work. It's the return to routine, of course, that feels good. My brain isn't in a mild-to-severe state of fight or flight over being in a foreign environment. It's how things always are, so my cortisol levels drop a bit, and I'm not as apt to wish unending painful flaming death on other commuters on the way home.*
And it's not just me. As things got back to normal here at the office, people chilled out a lot. The talk of digging out of four feet of snow passed, and the tension in the air dissolved. My boss got over her crazy. That's always good.
So there's this guy at Harvard who was thinking about all this stuff about routines. He buys all this GPS data from a cell phone carrier in Europe that tracks where people go every day. He doesn't have their names or anything, but he can see where thousands of people travel over a year. He expected most people had a routine, but that there would be a percentage who were consistently spontaneous. You know, the Kramer types. Folks who just up and do something crazy, like drive to Arizona because they got a rental car with unlimited miles until their car is out of the shop. People who take different routes to work once in a while.
He never found the spontaneous people in the data. Everyone stuck to a pattern. Even their variances from the norm were predictable. An algorithm can be written that will accurately predict your personal location more than 95% of the time. If you're in Europe, at least. Maybe there are more spontaneous individuals in the States.
I doubt it.
I suspect the truly spontaneous people in the world, those whose patterns can't be predicted by an equation aren't going to show up in statistical data ever. They don't fit into society. They don't have a place in culture. They won't keep jobs, pay bills, or have a permanent address. They can't afford a cell phone, and even if they had one, chances are pretty good that they'd lose it. They're the mentally ill, the homeless, the mad.They're INSANE.
Judging by my own sense of calm and peace that came from getting back to even an uncomfortable regular routine that includes frozen testes, I'm betting the whole "creature of habit" thing is genetic, embedded, hardwired into us as human beings. That means it's on purpose. It's a clue about how we're supposed to act while we're stuck in these mucus-filled water bags that turn into smelly dirt and calcium deposits when we're done with them. Regular spiritual activity, a day every week set aside that is Holy, a time every day that is spent in holy communion with God, meditating on your Source, regular Work with the spirits of the heavenly Spheres, these practices are empowerments that will bring physical and mental peace as well as spiritual power.
When I was a kid, I was all about bucking the system, breaking free from the routine, busting out of the school-work-death cycle (I even called it the Death Cycle). Now that I'm older, wiser, and more aware of what it means to be Human, I'm understanding that the cycles and patterns are an important part of our existence. The regularity, the normalcy are absolutely essential. Without a foundation of a consistent schedule of events, we don't have the mental bandwidth to explore the new and different.
There's a lot of stuff in the occult realm that is either directly or indirectly influenced by the writings and research of Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary. These pioneers in mental experimentation and spiritual drug use were products of the 60s, when the Crowned Child took his throne socially. They, and authors like Ginsberg and Kerouac brought a necessary correction to our culture, emphasized the richness of life that can be found by incorporating the unpredictable, the spontaneous.
But while a correction was needed to get people out of the rut, I think it's important to recognize, accept, and incorporate the importance of the routine. Form a solid foundation, and then add to it. Extreme diversion from the norm is acceptable and useful when you have a core routine in place to return to. That core of normalcy gives you a foundation to stand on while you integrate the nuances of the new and different. Even explorers, the epitome of the "Neophile" idealized by Wilson, benefit from a routine that incorporates the exploration and discovery of the new.
* Except for you, little red car with the blond driver who stared at me like a fucking guppy in a fish bowl as I legally made a turn, whose boyfriend flipped me off because you're too fucking stupid to know how to follow the basic rules of driving in a parking lot without getting drool all over your steering wheel. You can totally die, hopefully before you breed, but even if you've already got kids, it would be better if they weren't raised by you and got your stupid driving skills passed on to them. Do us a favor and take a dirt nap before you get someone killed.