I’m not one to ask a lot of other people, as you know. But sometimes I have to because I’m physically constrained–recall the recent couch confinement and a need for significant support with dog walking. And sometimes I have to for purely emotional reasons. I am so lucky to have so many kind friends to share the wealth of my neediness.
Today I happened upon unsuspecting Coleen, the kind acquaintance, and now friend, I’ve met through my yoga class. I hadn’t seen her at yoga for some time because I’ve had a few physical restrictions. Recall my recent physician-imposed couch time.
When I saw Coleen today, she told me, somewhat sheepishly, that she was leaving shortly for a family trip to Quebec. Now, if you recall, J. and I recently cancelled our trip to Quebec. Coleen was feeling guilty about going somewhere that I had planned to go but couldn’t, at least not on schedule.
There were many things that were disappointing about that trip cancellation. But the biggest downer for me, because I am a food-focussed Jew, was not tasting my first real Montreal bagel. Not a fake one, not one that claims, or even aspires, to be a Montreal bagel even though it’s not from Montreal. A real Montreal bagel from Montreal, warm out of the wood-fired oven. I was so looking forward to that bagel.
And so I sheepishly asked Coleen–if she was going to be sheepish about going on my trip, at least I could be sheepish in asking her a favour–whether she might bring me back one of those real Montreal bagels. Actually, I asked her to bring back two, so I wouldn’t have to share mine with J. (Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say here, “so J. could have her own.”) Without hesitation, Coleen said yes. Not only did she say yes, but she told me it was no big deal because she’d probably be able to find them close to where she was staying.
And with those words, all of the sudden, I didn’t feel quite as down about missing that trip. It’s not that I want to send my friends all over the world to bring me back things I can’t procure myself because I’m stuck in Calgary. Not at all. I want to travel to these places; I just couldn’t a few weeks ago. Coleen’s gesture will soften the blow of our recent trip cancellation.
So what Coleen doesn’t realize, and what I didn’t really consider until after we parted, is that it doesn’t really matter now whether she brings me back the bagel(s) or not. All that matters is that, even though she is a fairly new friend, she is more than willing to try. She didn’t respond to my imposing request with resentment or frustration or annoyance. That generosity of spirit is what I needed even more than the darn bagel.
Don’t get me wrong though; the bagel would still be nice. (I’m just saying this in case Coleen is reading.) I can just taste it, slathered with a generous schmear of Winnipeg cream cheese and topped with some high-sodium Nova Scotia lox. Hey, does anyone happen to be heading to Winnipeg in the next little while?