April 01, 2013

"It's Never Too Late"

"It's never too late." I think this is something most of us hear a lot, especially as we get older. I've certainly been hearing it since I turned 27, usually in a slightly pitying tone. As in: "I'm 27 years old." "Oh, honey. It's never too late!"

So that's reassuring.

Joking aside, I tend to agree with the sentiment. My grandparents came to the US as adults and remade their lives there; my father and mother both drastically changed careers in their 20s and then waited until it really was almost too late before having their first and only child. I've shuffled around the "what I want to be when I grow up" spectrum a few times even as an adult, and now I'm about to go to grad school. I definitely believe it's never too late.

But that's not really what I want to talk about today. Today, I want to add something to the phrase: "It's never too late... for things to get really stupid."

So, okay, it's today. I've been in Japan for nearly three years now. I speak pretty fine Japanese except for my keigo (formal Japanese) being weak -- but pay attention, because that gets relevant in a minute. I know my way around the place. I gave directions to a tourist this morning. I've been at my school through three yearly staff changes and I pretty much know the drill on that, too, so when I showed up to a sea of new faces today I wasn't especially nonplussed. I introduced myself to three of my new coworkers, tried to help one with her email, chatted bilingually for a bit. I know how this works. I'm cool like that.

I know I have to give a self-introduction at the staff meeting later, but why should that intimidate me? I've done my self-introduction roughly a million times now. Except then we actually get to the staff meeting*, and everyone introduces themselves...

And for whatever reason, I could not tell you why now -- my current medicine gives me the brain fog, everyone was speaking keigo, I suddenly transplanted personalities with myself from a decade ago** -- I completely freeze up. It's never too late... to look like an idiot! I eventually manage to stammer something out that's the rough equivalent of: "Uh, hi, my name is Vera, I'm Vera, hello, you can call me Vera, um..." and so on. I don't think I repeated myself less than three times on any given sentence.

Then I think I swallowed a bug on the way home.

On the bright side, I thought, it's not too late for my day to improve. My cat both agrees and disagrees: in her opinion, it's never too late to destroy all of my possessions. I write this in the middle of having a serious dispute with her about how much that's improving my life.

How was your day, folks?

*Where I am, in extremely typical ALT fashion, to do the self-intro and then quickly leave because why should an English assistant be at the English meeting? But I digress.
**Two of these are true.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to nominate you for a Liebster Award: