But as I grow older I am beginning to appreciate the blunted edge of things.I still have the same sharp clear sense of enjoyment of all things positive – but somehow the negative things…not so much..My reaction to those are much less sharp than they used to be…The edge of anger, the pain of disappointment and even the sting of embarrassment- they all seem to have become blunted. (Not that I am becoming Buddha – ah! we will have green snow that day in Mylapore if that happens!!)
I was at lunch with LaPa the other day. You all probably know her as Lakshmi Priya – an actor who is passionate about acting and bringing characters to life – with no fear of breaking stereotypes and false constructs. But to me she is LP or LaPa, the cricketer who I have worked out with in YMCA ten years ago (and someone I was envious of when it came to technique, fitness and agility- but I digress )
I wasn’t able to make it for her wedding and so when I came back to Madras, the first thing I did was fix a date to catch up over lunch. Being the socially inept person that I sometimes am, I landed up for lunch without even having made the time to get her something nice. So I decided I would just treat her to lunch.
Sitting across the table the conversation flowed , ricocheting off principles, ideas and approaches.
I wished LaPa a very happy married life and she pulled out a bag of goodies. I exclaimed “Oh dear! I didn’t get you anything. I should be getting you something. But ok..lunch is on me.”
The thought that I should have been more embarrassed flitted by but was discarded as I got engrossed in looking at the goody bag. I loved the concept. It was made from discarded bits of upholstery but it was the contents of the bag that delighted me.
With minimal waste being their focus for the biggest event in their lives, the couple had put together this bag with some thoughtful gifts. There was a metal straw, a bamboo toothbrush and small bottle of balm. And here is the ultimate proof of thoughtfulness – there was a matching cleaner for the metal straw as well! I was simply delighted with this little touch.
I felt a bit of guilt wash over me when I thought of all the ways I could have done something to minimize impact on the environment – twice in fact – but then if I hadn’t had those two events, forget impact on the environment, the impact on my LIFE would have been minimized. J It’s good to look back at these events with the blunted edge of fading memories I suppose. (And no – third time ain’tgonna be lucky – not for the environment – not for me !!)
Lunch drew to a close and I signaled for the cheque and continued chatting. The girl brought the bill to the table and like a hawk swooping down on its prey, I grabbed hold of it. LaPa protested. “I wanted to treat you!” she said.
I said “ Buying you lunch is the least I can do! Next time we can go dutch. This one is on me” I announced grandly.
I rummaged in my oversize handbag for my purse. And rummaged…..And rummaged. And with a mild panic I realized my purse wasn’t in my handbag. Now there were two things waging the war for supremacy – one the embarrassment of not having the money to pay for lunch especially after magnanimously saying I would treat her to lunch – but more importantly concern – for the purse had my UK company credit cards and other cards as well as my India cards.
As this mélange of thoughts clashed around, my phone buzzed. It was the real estate agent messaging to say that the wrong key had been given and the prospective buyer was outside the flat. My brain said that had to be dealt with first and I thumbed through contacts and at the same time I looked up at Lapa and said “I am so sorry I can’t find my purse. You will have to pay I am afraid. I’ll buy you lunch next time” as I completed the sentence I pressed the call button and dialed the number for my agent. And I froze as I heard a voice that said “Hey Anu, whatsup!” I had dialed the wrong number!!!
I managed to complete that call without letting the friend know that I had dialed his number by mistake, coordinated with the agent for the right key and apologized once again to LaPa for making her pay for lunch. I laughingly asked her “Did you realise that I had not meant to dial that person I just spoke to? She chuckled and said “No ..did you do that?”
We continued chatting as we walked down the stairs and promised to meet again at least once in six months, laughingly quipping that more than that would drive us crazy.
As I drove back home, I marveled at how the blunted edge of my embarrassment and distress had helped me cope with the situation far better than I would have done when I was younger. The younger me would have been absolutely mortified about not being able to pay the bill, completely panicked about losing her wallet and distressed about the wrong key and cursing her stupidity for dialing the wrong number. Not so the older one.
The older one simply apologized for being unable to pay the bill, calmly hunted for her wallet and found it later, smoothly coordinated for the correct key and laughed at having called the wrong number and managed to have finished the call with the friend being none the wiser.
All in all a much less stressful way of handling things and life. I think I like this older me.
There’s something to be said about the blunted edge of things, don’t you agree?