A young, most charming lady of our acquaintance, I was recently informed, was in Bangkok.
Now, young is a relative word, like truth. So I should clarify that she is in her twenties, around the halfway mark. To some, that is young. To others, it may be not be. To me, I am sorry to report, it most certainly makes her a member of the former group.
Upon learning the news of her being in Bangkok, I experienced a twinge of envy. I have been to that city twice, and I can assure you that the food to be had in that city is worth many more trips.
I travel, as is well known, primarily to sample food from various parts of the world. Of the places I have been to thus far, Bangkok is at or very near the top of the list. And so on that account, I was happy for her, for she is as much of a foodie as yours truly.
Then, I’m sorry to say, I made a mistake.
“Why”, I asked, simply in order to make conversation, “did she go to Bangkok? Was it for work?”
There passed across the visage of her uncle – for it was he who had given me the news – an unmistakable wince.
“No”, he said, somewhat morosely. “Just a spur of the moment thing.”
At which point, he and I exchanged glances of a sort that I am increasingly familiar with.
As with youth (and truth), so also with the phrase “spur of the moment”. Its meaning, context and recommended usage are a function of the stage of life you find yourself at. At my age (and the young lady’s uncle’s age), spur of the moment doesn’t mean what is used to earlier. Not quite.
These days, spur of the moment means a second helping of rice. Or maybe a third chapati. The decision to go for a movie, just so you young whippersnappers understand, is not a spur of the moment thing. It involves coordinating my schedule with that of the missus – and with the schedules of our maid, our cook, our daughter’s school and about three hundred other things besides. And after all that, we have still had to cancel the odd movie, or leave one halfway through.
Spur of the moment my posterior.
Going to Bangkok? We’re talking PERT/CPM charts, if-then analysis and the kind of detailed planning that military generals would have approved of. Planning will start at least six months earlier, if not before that.
Why, there will be a separate chapter in my autobiography on Packing Family Suitcases for International Travel – and I can already tell you that it will not be a fun read. Hell, the research involved in the decision to go to Bangkok isn’t a spur of the moment thing.
And since all of what I have just said above was manifestly clear to me and the young lady’s uncle, we exchanged the sort of glance I spoke about. It wasn’t, shall we say, a cheery exchange of glances.
“Ah”, I said.
“Hmph”, said he.
And we, entirely on the spur of the moment, decided to have another beer.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime