Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Element of Surprise

I accept it as common knowledge that my mom is one of the most amazing people to walk the planet. In less that two weeks, she will be travelling to Colorado to run the Pike's Peak marathon. It is her third marathon, and the first one I won't be at to cheer her on, a fact that is disappointing for both of us.

Then, a few weeks ago I read a blurb in a magazine about a recent study that showed that receiving flowers significantly elevates your mood for four days. I thought it would be the perfect surprise for my mom, and a great way to keep her spirits up and nerves down in those last days. So, of course, I ordered flowers immediately.

For anyone who knows me, it goes without saying that I have a very difficult time keeping my mouth shut about anything that I am excited about. So the fact that I didn't slip up and tell my mom for almost two weeks is reason enough to pat myself on the back. Then yesterday she calls me to say she received the flowers! Mind you, it is not within the four-day time span prescribed in the magazine, and it is not on the day I scheduled them for. What surprised me, though, is that it made me angrier than anything has for quite some time. I live in New York City, where people routinely try to run me off the road while I am driving, curse at me for ridiculous reasons, pee on the train platform while I am standing next to them...and I am mad that flowers arrived early?

My mom said it was no big deal. I said, "Mom, I wanted to surprise you. It's like receiving a Mother's Day gift in April." Which got me thinking about social conventions. The expectations we set around gift-giving are fascinating to me. And those conventions seem to go along with well-wishing. Is someone's "Good Luck" less meaningful if spoken too early? In a way, I feel like my mom doesn't even have her game-face on yet, but the everything-happens-for-a-reason side of me thinks maybe she needed those flowers earlier for a reason neither of us will ever know.

In the end, I complained to the company and got a 50% reimbursement (and an offer to resend the flowers on the appropriate date.) And, though this is still too early for conventional well-wishing, I know she'll do awesome, flowers or no flowers. She will always be one of the most amazing people around...and that voice of reason who tells me I'm thinking too much about these flowers.

1 comment:

Luise said...

Thank you for the adoration, however I think you have gone a little overboard.
And...forget about the flowers already!
If anyone else is reading this comment, I spoke to Sam on the phone yesterday and she was still mad about the flowers.