Do you want the GOOD news or the BAD news? Steve always wanted the BAD news first. But, I choose to give you some GOOD news, so, here goes……Well, the GOOD news in this day and age of hourly “BREAKING (BAD) NEWS”, is that I am pondering another question of seemingly minimal importance compared to the life and death question of “Are we at nuclear war yet?” No, instead of wondering if I need a face mask for the nuclear fallout or do I just watch it approach over the horizon (more BAD news), I am pondering the question – how do I pay back this favor? (The GOOD news) Let me explain.
I am receiving favours from people. Some are friends; others are strangers. So, every time a favour crosses my path, I have to ask myself, “What is the sub-text?” (my actress training) “What is really going on here?” (my attorney training, too). I also ask, “Do I accept this favor?” and “If I do, what strings are attached?” Because I think there are ALWAYS strings attached! What do I mean? Well, a “thank you” usually requires an implicit or explicit “you’re welcome” (in French, if possible). OK, that is a very simplistic way of looking at it, but when you think about it, if someone does you a favor, you need to reciprocate in some way. The trick comes in knowing the best way to do it. It continually baffles me. So, I end up guessing as to what strings are attached. And, if I don’t guess correctly, there are consequences. I foolishly think saying “thank you” will be enough, and it NEVER is. I am still working on what will be enough in certain situations. If I am lucky or smart enough to “guess” what is expected from me, I then have to examine whether I am willing to do that or not. Just plain old favours that you need, like, “Can I give you a ride to the luncheon in Mougins?” Or, “Would you like for me to help you pack?”
So, over-thinking becomes the norm. I want to be appreciative, but I never know the best way to do that these days. I want and need the favor, but I know that I must be ready and willing to reciprocate. So, sometimes I say that I don’t need something because the only way I know to pay someone back is to take them to lunch or dinner or something that costs money. And, that gets expensive. The French have different expectations than expats. The British have others. See what I mean? But, I find – if I ask myself these questions, it seems to cover most people from most countries.
First question: Is this really a “favor”? And, if this person does me this “favour”, what, if anything, is expected back from me. How am I going to reciprocate? I keep reading memes on Facebook, wishing people would “just be nice”. Just be kind. Just be generous. Pay it forward. I don’t find there are a lot of people who “pay it forward”. Maybe. Or maybe I am wrong. Or, maybe it is my need to appear to be strong and independent, when I actually need a favor. Hmmmm. I must give that further consideration. Just sayin….. And now, a few memes (4) to ponder, along with some cartoons for fun (5)…..
3 thoughts on “THE GOOD NEWS V. THE BAD NEWS”
Janet, I appreciate your sending me your latest post and last week too. Funny you have had offers to help too. I have noticed more. Could it be the age?????? Ugh! >
Yes, I have been following their arrival! This is just the beginning of many new adventures and experiences for her. I cannot tell you how much I LOVE living here. It is very different from visiting. And, people help me everywhere I go. Strangers. And always give me their seats on the tram and the bus. Well, maybe not always. But, most of the time. I am very excited for all of you. But, especially for Sam. She will never be the same. Her world will slowly expand and she will be so full. How fortunate she is that she has all of you backing her up. It won’t be easy, but all of it will be worth it!! It is like first year of law school. No on e can ever tell you exactly what to expect. There is no way.
Granddaughter Sam and Mom Dawn arrived in France on Thursday last. Sam will remain for the year at Sciences Po in Reims studying political science/law/history and Dawn will return to the U.S. on Monday.
On favors: Debarking from the plane and collecting 4 large suitcases, both ladies
found there were no escalators or elevators to transport them to the next elevation on their journey from Paris to Reims. Taking deep breaths, they began lugging 2 heavy suitcases each up the stairs. Suddenly from behind, complete strangers grabbed those 4 suitcases and carried and deposited them on the next landing. This happened more than once AND the perpetrators of these good deeds never even stopped to receive a thank you. In this instance, one pays it forward, and Dawn and Sam have been mindful of that for the past 2 days. Welcome to Paris, where favors begin!
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