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)…..