Surprises

Do you like them?

I suppose it depends on what the surprise is. A surprise trip to Europe would be swell. An unexpected inheritance or megaballs lottery win (even though I don’t play) would be most excellent. Generally speaking though, I’ve found that surprises tend to be negative. “Surprise, your car brakes are squeaking! That’ll be $400. Oh, and while we were in there, we discovered that your evaporator resonator need to be replaced and your transmitter convertinator needs an overhaul. That’ll be another $800, please.” I’m not a big fan of surprises.

I hate surprise parties. I had a surprise birthday party thrown for me once and I was more on the irritated side than filled with glee. Surprise parties are a form of lying. All of your friends actually lie to your face. I hate lies. So, it’s not so much the “SURPRISE!” that bothers me, although I hate being forced into the center of attention like that, it’s all the deception. I’m not good with people lying to me for any reason really, especially my closest friends. It took some time and a few stiff drinks to get over the fact that all of my friends had conspired against me. Albeit in a nice way, it was still humbuggery. Now, everyone knows never to throw a surprise party for me because I will ruin it with cantankerousness and much harrumphing.

I was surprised with a raise a few weeks back. My boss called me into his office and told me that I had been doing a great job and that I deserved more money. What? That actually happens? At my last job of nine years, I got precisely one raise and that was only because I threatened to leave. The next time I threatened to leave, it didn’t work. So, having an employer call me in of his own free will to give me a raise was quite unexpected indeed. That was pleasant. It made me feel all warm and tingly.

My sister doesn’t like surprises either, but for entirely different reasons. She is a planner. She’s one of those people that makes lists of things to do and actually does them. She generally knows where life will lead her for weeks at a time. I am not like that at all. I plan maybe a few hours ahead. Unless my attendance is obligatory or an RSVP is required, e.g. a wedding, I always say “maybe” to invitations because I never know how I’ll feel about going until the time comes. Maybe I’ll feel like socializing or maybe not. I don’t like being tied down by plans. I rarely plan ahead, which can be a detriment, but because I don’t plan, I am generally more able to cope with unexpected events than my sister. I’ve penciled you in for fisticuffs after tea. Meet me in the peach grove and bring a second. Surprise!

Not all surprises are bad, but it seems that the ratio is a little skewed. For every nice surprise like a dozen roses or a raise, there are two of the surprises you don’t want like car repairs or root canals. Perhaps it’s just my jaded outlook on life, but if I could, I’d choose not to have one good surprise if it meant that I could avoid two negative ones. Harrumph.