Monday, April 14, 2008

The Second Rule

It will all work out.

Sometimes you are involved in a project that has more arms than an octopus, more teeth than a mad nasty monkey, and the whole experience just feels like waiting for the train wreck to happen. At times like this, you need to invoke the second rule of everything.

Given that the universe is always moving towards chaos, this second rule of everything makes no sense whatsoever, but I have seen it work time and time again. If you move forward with an open heart and faith, or at least a fervent prayer, that it will all be ok, somehow it will all work out.

Now it may work out because you don’t sleep for three days, and you are buzzed on double shots of espresso, or you burn out your transmission trying to get there to make it work out. It may work out because you have pressed every one of your relatives into service and promised your spouse sexual favors into the next millennium. You may spend the rent money on some emergency tablecloth purchase or you may alienate all your friends and bankrupt your favor bank for years into the future to get it to work out, but the pieces will all fall together, more or less.

I recently volunteered to help out with two projects relating to my children’s lives. I discovered that volunteerism in my community is in an anemic state. “Help out” turned into doing two massive projects all by myself in a week when I was already pushed to the wall at work and at home. Help out, which in my mind is phone calling, emailing and delegating,--you know, pitching in with a team, turned into frantically shopping, setting up massive rooms of complicated projects, cajoling teen helpers to do their half baked helping with lots of loud socializing, and hours and hours of my own labor when there was no one to delegate to—and all this when I really needed to be grocery shopping and doing laundry since the fairies quit at my house ages ago due to the lousy working conditions. What’s the song in the Musical WICKED, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished….. in any event, I spent a few anxious hours and a sleepless night stewing over being overwhelmed and envisioning impending disaster, then jumped off the cliff of what the hey with an innate trust in my improvisational abilities. I just started saying It Will All Work Out, over and over under my breath like a crazy old lady and took Deep Cleansing Breaths when I felt like smashing my own head against the wall—when it was all spinning dangerously towards entropy and the crash was about to come……., and in the end,

It All Worked Out.

It was not great. I was not necessarily proud of my efforts. I was not as pleasant as I wanted to be. Perhaps I relied to much on Mr. Chardonnay and the aspirin in big quantities to calm my nerves and quiet the stress headache…. But it was fine.

I have seen this Rule work with massive festivals pulled off with virtually no staff. It has worked when my media camp had all its equipment stolen and the main teacher quit three days before it opened. It worked for my daughter’s bat mitzvah. And though I have left the world of storefront theater behind being too old for the drama off stage, many major works of art come out of near train wrecks.

You cannot use this Rule too often though. You will get sick, the train will crash, bankrupted favor banks will foreclose on you.

But when the co-chair of the school fundraiser backs out on you or the caterer skips out on your bosses important impress his bosses meeting, when the main actor gets into a car wreck an hour before you open and the critics are in the lobby, close your eyes, calm yourself and chant, It Will All Work Out, then call every resource you have ever known into your corner and come out swinging.

No comments: