By Brenda Brissette Mata
Have you ever noticed when you are truly surprised you end up with a reaction that is never the way you would imagine you would react?
Watching a TV program or a movie, you can usually tell when a shock or surprise is building. The music is usually a dead giveaway and the plot leads you to the appropriate reaction. A warm smile or a horrifying shock depending on whether you’re watching a romance or a murder mystery. I’ll let you decide which you would cause you to be horrified.
But in real life, a true surprise often doesn’t elicit an immediate reaction. It’s as if your brain can’t absorb what’s happening. Like when you see your gynecologist at the mall or your son’s teacher at the bar swilling a Mojito and dirty dancing.
It takes a few minutes for your brain to absorb the information and in the meantime you are standing there with a blank expression trying to understand just exactly what it is you’re seeing or hearing.
That look of incomprehension never occurs when you are watching a magician, because you’re ready for it. You’re waiting for the surprise. The only way you’d end up with a stunned look, would be if the floating lady suddenly fell on her backside.
Ever go to a surprise party? They always seem like such a good idea to the person throwing the party. You get a thrill thinking the guest of honor walking in and gently squealing with glee.
If there is any gentle squealing, I guarantee the guest of honor was not truly surprised. A real surprise usually results in jumping three feet off the ground, Screaming in terror and/ or throwing something.
Once, my mom came from Arizona to Michigan to surprise me with a visit. I was in line at a restaurant, waiting for a table, and kept getting bumped from behind. I ignored it for as long as possible then turned around and – with a fierce and sour expression did my best Steve Martin – “Well, excuuuuse me!”
The lady doing the bumping just smiled. My mother – the woman who gave me life – I’m embarrassed to say how long it took me to recognize her. I spent two minutes looking at her smile thinking, “Hmm, she looks like someone I know.”
I returned the favor a few years later and arrived unexpectedly at her door in Arizona. My sister left me in her car, walked into our mother’s house and then declared she forgot something. She came outside and I went in.
My mother stared at me – no reaction whatsoever. Later we agreed to no more surprise visits.
I do love surprises, I just feel bad when, as the surprisee, my reaction disappoints the surprisers.
Sometimes, even when you’re expecting it, you can still become stunned, left with that blank look on your face, disappointing the surprisers. It happened again for me, very recently, when I learned I was going to be a grandma. Surprise.
I’m smiling now.
(Editor’s Note: Brenda will growl at you if you call her “Granny,” as the editor did recently. Fair warning.)