Hyperbole Heaven

Awesome! That’s wonderful! You’re a Star!”,said the young man to me yesterday looking into my eyes…No, I had not mastered the tango. Far from it. What had happened was that on being served at the till by the said young man,he had discovered that the EFTPOS (debit) system was down and had asked hopefully whether I could pay by cash instead. After foraging in my purse,I came up with the required amoung which prompted the fulsome praise! Some years ago, I would have been slightly startled by the exuberance but now,I almost expect it!

I am gratified that my carrying cash in my purse inspires awe in at least one persons’ eyes and fills him in wonder! And if that also makes me a Star,then so be it. But even if he had just said,”Thank you so much-that’s a great help” ,it would have worked just as well and probably been more believable!

Another conversation in early December with a check-out operator resulted in my divulging that my family was about to visit( I had been asked my plans over Christmas). “That’s wonderful!”,she exclaimed and asked me from where they were coming. On being told that it was from India,“How amazing!”,she cried. Wonderful? Yes. Amazing? I don’t know. Now, if they had loaded their suitcases onto the backs of camels and trekked across land, that would have been amazing( especially since it would have sorted out all their excess baggage issues),but the fact that I knew that they were tamely going to board an aircraft and travel in the usual manner,rather failed to awaken the amazement in me!

I don’t mean to sound like a wet blanket but if that nice young man who said I was awesome were to experience the Northern Lights for example,what adjective would he have left in his repertoire to describe that?! if a middle-aged woman carrying cash in her purse can inspire awe, what would coming across a penguin colony in the Antartic inspire if you get my drift?!

But although I may get a trifle over-dosed on the superlatives at times,I know I mustn’t moan. At least it lifts your spirits to win the personal bet you have made with yourself as to how many “Have a nice day!”s you may hear in a span of 3 hours and it beats indifference any day! It’s great to have bus drivers here smile or nod acknowledgment and thankyou when you get off a bus or lift a languid hand rather than the one we encountered in New York City last year who bellowed at a hapless tourist to “SIT DOWN” when he tried to timidly ask a question! Given that the bus was moving and that the passenger approached the driver’s seat,it may have been a trifle ill-advised but when the bus driver thundered at him,I cringed for the poor man although everyone else looked totally unconcerned!

When we lived in India and my daughter who was 4 years old then went to pre-school,she would often come back with her notebook marked with aggressive red-inked strokes by her teacher. My daughter could never quite get the letters of the alphabet to fit the little squares or between the lines of her exercise book with her immature hands and the teacher would boldly circle the mistakes and scrawl huge red question marks in the margin. I’m sorry Ms D’Souza,but I never quite worked out who the question marks were for! Were they for Rachel who at 4,did not know what a question mark was or was it in fact for her parents,in which case,were we supposed to deprive her of food till she could write between the lines?!

Well,we never found out as we soon left to move to New Zealand where at school,practically everyday she would get various stickers proclaiming,“You are Awesome!” or “You Rock!” or certificates by the dozen issued for helping a new child,picking up litter or helping the teacher and so on. At first she was thrilled ( and so were we) but when the stickers abd certificates kept up a steady flow,they became just another bit of paper to be filed away. It also soon became apparent that although the “You’re Awesome” stickers peppered Rachel’s books,her handwriting still left very much to be desired! But as she was constantly reminded that she rocked,it seemed more conveniently justifiable for her to blithely disregard her parents admonitions and stick with the school angle!

Obviously,there was a need for some golden middle which would have served as an attractive carrot and a friendly stick!

The other day I had to fill out a form to get me onto a mailing list. After doing so,I asked the woman at the counter if I had done all that was required. She skimmed over it and then,“That’s fabulous! Absolutely perfect! Did you include a phone number? You did? that’s fantastic! Great! That’s all done then! You have a nice day now!”. Golly! I don’t know if it’s that fantastic just having added more spam into my Inbox but oh well…there you go!

And how about the chefs on the Food Channel ( yes,I love watching the food shows,although this mystifies everybody who knows me!).I feel my hackles rise the moment they start breathing in the “wonderful” aromas and hearing the “glorious” sizzling sounds! They talk AT you,almost commanding you to appreciate the “fantastic” colours and the “beautiful” drips of the most delicious sauce ( all 3 dots of it) and declare ecstatically with closed eyes how the crunch,the texture and the taste are all exploding together in one big sensual experience in their mouths! And when they turn to you with mouths full and start expounding on the wonderment of it all,it’s all I can do not to cover my face with my hands to stop their crumbs from spattering all over me! Excuse me guys but I’ll be the judge of that! Tastes are too subjective to take someone else’s word for it. One man’s oyster is anothers’ snot-like secretion! So don’t tell me what to feel! And yes, I will still be watching all your shows when possible-so there!

Meanwhile all you beautiful people,you have a fantastically AWESOME day, y’hear?!

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