It was hard to find a relevant picture for this post that didn’t creep me out. Pictures of surprise parties? No thank you. So please enjoy the above photo of a surprised-looking cat. Thank you for understanding.
I hate surprise parties. I hate surprises of almost every kind. Please, please don’t surprise me. I will probably not react the way you’re hoping I will, and it will ruin everyone’s fun.
My mom loves surprising people, but she has learned not to try it with me, because it’s the reaction she loves, and I do not provide an acceptable one. If I enter a room and the lights go on and people yell surprise, I will probably jump back (possibly injuring myself in the process), then stand there like a deer caught in the headlights, and then vomit. Not exactly a precursor to a good time.
I love to be able to plan things, including my own reactions to things. If I know in advance that someone’s planning to surprise me, I can expect it, plan for it, and mentally brace myself for it. Then I can jump up and down, smile, clap my hands, say, “Yay!” and everyone will be happy. That is a much nicer scenario.
I also don’t like it when someone tries to keep something from me or lies to me about certain details so they can surprise me later. I can usually tell something’s going on, but I’m not sure what. It feels like they’re just messing with my head and is very disconcerting. I get little enjoyment out of the end result if I was put through any kind of mental confusion to get there. Just don’t do it, please.
On the other hand, if I suspect someone’s trying to surprise me and I’ve mentally prepared myself for it, but I turn out to be wrong, that can be unsettling too. In one of the cities we used to live in, there was this independent bookstore/coffee shop that had a large seating/event area and often had art on display and performances by local musical artists. It was a pretty cool place, but we didn’t go there very often because it was a bit out of our way. A few days before my birthday, my husband told me we would have to go to that bookstore on my birthday since a colleague of his was doing a book signing there and it would be good to support him. Because I’m a planner by nature as well as an information junkie, I looked up information on the man, his book, and the bookstore, but I could find nothing, not even on the store’s online calendar, about this book signing. That seemed odd. And then it hit me: There was no book signing. There was going to be a surprise party for me, and wow, what a perfect location for it. How utterly astute of whoever had thought of it! If I were planning a party for someone like me, that’s exactly the location I’d pick! So I thoroughly mentally prepared myself for the surprise and actually started to look forward to it. I even bought a new outfit.
Guess what. It was a book signing. Happy birthday to me!
I don’t even like parties, and there I felt all hurt and dejected because there wasn’t one. So, I don’t like surprises, but I also don’t like things that look like potential surprises but aren’t. Those are, in themselves, surprises, in that they are not what I was expecting.
I can honestly see why some people find me difficult. There’s just no pleasing me.