Surprises: Yea or Nay?
Finding Joy In Unexpected Events
Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.
As I come from a family with members that are easily startled and like to control things, I wasn’t raised to appreciate surprises. Surprise parties were left to the movies where they went off without a hitch. Surprise announcements (I’m pregnant. I’m buying a car. I’ve got six months to live.) were replaced by the speaker slowly easing the listener(s) into the final statement. When you suggest a possible surprise in my family, it is never met with glee.
Now that I’ve had a chance to experience surprises through friends, I’m more open to surprises. I like being involved in surprise birthday planning. I enjoy watching my friends react to surprises. I’ve also come to realize that all information is more or less a surprise and to not just take information as it comes instead of having it formed into a digestible form is a disservice to me and others.
However, I don’t know if I could handle a surprise birthday party. A couple of years ago, I had somewhat of a surprise party. I was relatively new to a certain circle of friends and I helped them plan small birthday parties for each other. When my birthday came and went without even a card from them, I was sad, but I understood. When another friend’s birthday rolled around, I helped them plan a party for her. You can imagine how surprised I was when the cake came out with both of our names on it. It was cool to have a little surprise, but I know if it had been any larger it would’ve embarrassed me too much.
A couple of weeks before the above surprise, I had another one. Someone very close to me had decided she was going to take me out for Japanese for my birthday. As this was only the second time I had had hibachi, I was excited. All was going well until I heard some very loud noises that turned out to be a group of cooks singing “Happy Birthday.” I remember I turned to my dinner date and made a comment about how embarrassed that person must be. At that point, the singing troupe came to our table and placed fried ice cream with a lit candle in it in front of me. I could’ve killed her. In hindsight, I realize that she was just being sweet and that I overreacted. Still, at the time, I wanted to die.
I believe that surprises are meant for certain occasions and for certain people. In order to really enjoy a surprise, you need to be willing to allow others to take charge/trust in others and be open to not having things done exactly the way you like. For someone like me who is painfully shy, being sung to by strangers in another language in front of a packed restaurant is enough to send one into shock. On the other hand, a more outgoing person may expect to have such treatment. It all depends on your comfort level. My comfort level tells me I can live without surprises.
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