I like surprises… when you don’t make me wait for them.
It’s like winter, really. I adore the idea of surprises but the reality is not quite something I can bear out. That’s because people have the tendency to tell me ahead of time that “something’s coming.” Well, just let it get here already. If a surprise was truly a surprise, and at the last possible moment, then I could really appreciate it. “Surprise! Tickets to the game at 1 today. Grab your coat, dude!” Something along those lines.
But people can’t bear to know something I don’t and keep it that way until it absolutely can’t wait any further. “I got something to tell you. You’re gonna love it. But you gotta wait ’til Tuesday.” Aaaaaahhh. I can’t wait until Tuesday. I can’t wait until the next second, because when you first told me you had something to tell me I got all excited. I began concocting ideas of what it could possibly be, crossing out options one by one until I finally had a good idea of what you could have to tell me… all in that second.
So then, why do I like doing that to others? It’s a wicked double standard, I know, but I can’t seem to help myself. I can’t keep my mouth shut, but I can keep my mouth shut. Do you know what I mean? I’m that guy, the one I just warned you about, who has to tell you there’s something coming… next Tuesday. I’m like Wimpy, gladly offering to pay you next Tuesday for a hamburger today. Can you wait for the money, because I can’t, and the hamburger is long gone. I don’t even remember that I ate it. Sigh.
Sometimes I can be good, though, when giving surprises. Like the one time I threw my wife a surprise 33rd birthday party, and she had absolutely no clue. It was priceless. She got so used to me tipping my hand that the masterpiece I had created through my silence had her totally fooled. Only 20 minutes into the event itself did she even realize that it was ME who had planned and orchestrated it. And it took every single ounce of patience in my body to keep that one to myself until the very last second. I still have no idea how I did it, and I have no reason to believe I can ever do it again. It was a once in a lifetime happening, and I’m just glad I was a part of it.
Then there’s the bad surprises. All day I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell my wife that I somehow got scheduled to work on the day of our youngest daughter’s birthday party, even though I requested to have the day off. It’s something that happens, but it figures it would happen on the one day I was hoping it wouldn’t. And so it was a surprise to me, and so it will be a surprise to my wife, and not the pleasant kind. I know it won’t be pleasant, and I know how I reacted to it, so I know what’s coming, and I know I need to do it like a Band-aid. Quick rip, and hope not too much skin comes off in the process.
Those bad surprises are the worst, especially when they come on the heels of something good. We were able to book the party, and on the day we wanted, so I should have realized it was too good to be true that we would actually be able to go through the rest of the process without a hitch. That’s the problem with surprises. They can come in many different shapes and sizes, and often they can come at the worst times and have the worst portents. It’s how we react when the cat’s out of the bag, though, that’s the most important thing.