Thursday, January 06, 2011

LEARNING TO SAY "THANK YOU" IN ENGLISH. My sister and I are in some ways so different that I think it startles both of us. (Edrosos are so fundamentally contrary that we have long since gone beyond disagreeing on specific issues, and passed into divergent realities.) But in some ways she and I are absolutely alike. These traits fascinate me, because they offer some clues as to our heritage and the way it has shaped us.

For example: Since we were old enough to buy our own Christmas gifts, every December we would get around to asking each other what Christmas gift would be appreciated. Unfailingly we both had the same response: Don't get me nothin'. Then each would ask again, and the other would brush it off again.

So we'd have to guess what gift would please the other. I for one was always nervous about it, and despite assurances never felt like I had guessed right. I think she felt the same way.

One year my sister just declared: We're not doing presents this year. That worked great. In fact Christmases were a lot easier after that, and not just logistically.

If you think it's weird that we were so reluctant to ask each other for something, even with the best excuse modern merchandizing had to offer, then you and I are in agreement. Weirder still, I'm often like that with other people, too: Friends, lovers, employers, store clerks. It's not unfailing; if I want a bourbon and soda, I find a way to express the thought. But it tends to be worse when I really need something. Then for some reason I become a lot less eloquent than I like to think I am.

I'm not sure I have the subtleties right, but I've figured out this much: I have a particularly ornery independent streak. I can't stand to feel beholden to others. Of course we're all of us beholden to others, generically and cosmically; even I know that. But if I feel someone's carrying me, even casually, I feel the need to get off and walk. It's all right. I got it. I don't need help. Don't get me nothin'.

So recently, in ornamenting what I usually think is an politics and culture blog, I made what I considered mordant jokes about some personal reversals I'd suffered. I figured longtime readers would get the joke: That pissant maudit Edroso and his black cloud, doing a little trapeze act for the crowd. I welcomed sympathy, and would have been grateful for any little back-pats and hang-in-theres, but figured I'd get onto the usual Jonah Goldberg fart tricks as soon as I had time and opportunity for them, and we'd forget all this.

What I sincerely did not expect was for people to offer me something more substantial. Like, money.

When I saw that Jay B had done the Edrosothon, I didn't at first absorb the fact. I figured maybe a few people might kick in some bucks and that would be that. I'd be grateful for it, of course, but best of all I could sort of dismiss it. You know, as if all those people in It's a Wonderful Life burst into George Bailey's house and said, "Here's twenty bucks, George -- when you get out of prison, you can take a cab home."

But I talked to Jay, and it appears a lot of people have contributed. A lot. And the take is meaningful -- enough that I'm not really hearing the hellhounds anymore, and should be able to get to a clean, well-lighted place soon.

I'm going to be writing to my contributors as soon as I get their names. But I want to extend this gratitude not only to them (and to Jay B, who I'll tell the world is definitely someone you want on your side) but also to everyone who didn't contribute but who has been kind, encouraging, sympathetic, or just plain nice to me, and whose gestures I may have accepted graciously but may not have fully grasped were tokens of real friendship. I get it, folks. I get it. Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment