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you’re truly very wonderful

published: 2011-03-09

She was extremely irritated. I knew she would be. It’s why I delayed making the phone call I had promised my neighbour I’d make.
The request was simple enough: please call such and so nail-manicure-salon and ask whether I can join their 10-week course. My neighbour has been looking for a job, something to do, anything really and I thought learning to do nails was smart thinking of hers. For one, it doesn’t require specific language skills.
I thought wrong. No, no, it would be impossible to give anyone any special attention by repeating things in English, that wouldn’t be fair on the other ladies taking the course. And starting an hour earlier was an insane suggestion of mine. What was I thinking? Yes, even if she were to pay extra!
I persevered – what about private lessons? The nail-guru said she’d think about it. Only because she wanted to brush me off.
So this time the nail-guru was annoyed. But my neighbour hasn’t given up on the idea, so why should I? In fact my neighbour even drove over there on a Sunday with her husband hoping to talk to someone. I told the nail-guru all this. She wondered whether my neighbour was compos mentis: nobody in their right mind would pass by a store on a Sunday!?

Maybe stores are open on Sundays in Pakistan, I opted? And I resisted getting angry. I stopped myself from shouting, “what on earth is wrong with this bloody country?” Instead, I tried reverse psychology. An act of desperacy. I would hate having to say ‘no’ to my neighbour. Simply because it wouldn’t make any sense.
“You know what?” I sighed, “I feel really awful doing this to be honest, and I know you’re fed up. God knows I am. The problem is, I promised to call and you understand don’t you? I’m just doing this as a neighbourly favour.” And so on.
The nail-guru softened. Finally, she said, “how about this: have her call me herself and we’ll see what we can do.”

“Aren’t you wonderful,” I said.


“No really. You are. Thank you. Thank you so so much.”

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