The gift of anticipation

October 26, 2009

I just stumbled across this arresting post. And by arresting, I mean the literal meaning of stopping, ceasing movement, detaining my breathing, everything.
Filled with delightful illustrations, the author’s post describes a formal dinner she attended in which she was served a very beautifully-executed but poorly-planned shellfish course. In her introduction to the disaster-in-waiting, the author writes:

We saw a movie years ago in which a housekeeper, played by Helen Mirren, dryly notes that she has the “gift of anticipation.” She knows what people need – or will need – long before they do and is attuned to the next requirement, be it refills or discretion. As she resigned herself onscreen, I grabbed Greg’s arm in the theater, whispering “it’s me, it’s me!” Like Helen, Greg had seen it coming. “Mm..okay.” But the recognition was inspiring. “No, I mean it. I have the gift of anticipation.”


Whatever the name, it’s always present: a bride will demand more icing, sleepover child won’t like onions, and wait, you’ll need water with that pill. Over-thinking, yes, but a particular brand, one of cause-and-effect, and a mixed blessing. Being ready makes life smooth and being kind makes life good, but the constant pull of awareness can, and will, set you apart.

Indeed, the recognition is inspiring. This “setting apart” is exactly my experience as I live a few steps ahead of myself, always on the lookout to swoop in to smooth the way before the recipient of my efforts even realizes there is a bump in the road. Truly a blessing and curse, I foresee and subsequently circumvent problems, which is great, but I often forget to just take in this very moment, which sucks.

This post was an eye-opener, and a cosmic affirmation of sorts that I am indeed barking up the right proverbial tree in having identified this aspect of my personality as something to work on many weeks ago. The food-related example was stunning in the relevance I felt it had to me, personally, and I feel relieved and grateful to realize through the post itself as well as its comments that I am not the only person who suffers/enjoys this affliction. Bravo, Marilyn!


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