Archive for the ‘Quotes’ category

“I’m still thinking about that pizza…”

July 19, 2011

“I’m still thinking about that pizza…”

These words were said in French, but that’s what they meant. A couple of weeks earlier a friend and I had split a margherita pizza at a small joint in Sete, France (known for its famous poet Paul Valery, pink cliffs and water jousting competitions).

Sete, France

The pizza, which we ate with a fork and a knife, was very good, but were it not for my friend, the thought of it would have vanished from my mind within 24 hours. What’s the point of remembering a pizza when its purpose has long been served?

So when my friend made the comment about remembering the pizza two weeks later, I was caught off guard. What a different way of looking at life, I thought. Not just drawing  quick pleasure from everything, and forgetting it, but actually making the pleasurable experience live on.

I liked that– it made me feel special to be in his presence (even if the American idea of “you’re special” is not really part of French culture). If he remembered a particular pizza with fondness weeks later, he’d surely keep me in his mind for a while, right? Yes, I was comparing myself with a pizza.

Another statement he would make that sort of changed my paradigm was “C’est normal,” which is “It’s normal” in English. He would do me a favor like bring me a bouquet of handpicked flowers, help me completely rearrange my messy bookshelves, or surprise me with some homemade oreillettes, and I would enthusiastically voice my appreciation. To this he’d say “C’est normal.”

This struck me as funny because no one says this in English in this context (at least no one I know). You use the word normal to describe a heartbeat, a person’s upbringing, and a person’s psychological state of mind, but not to justify a romantic act.

As different as I thought it was, the expression sort of grew on me¬† It’s like people are so used to doing kind things for the ones they love that they don’t think they’re doing anything special.

Refuse, refuse, refuse (so you can get what you want)

February 19, 2010

I recently came across this quote:

“Remember that in giving any reason at all for refusing, you lay some foundation for a future request.”

It is from Arthur Helps’ 1890 book “Essays Written in the Intervals of Business,” a sort of self help book of its time.

This statement really spoke to me. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that saying “no” is key to getting what you want and need.

It took some time to realize this, though. When I was young, I wanted to please everyone. I would join a club because friends were doing so, go out with someone because he liked me, or accept every babysitting job because it felt like the right thing to do.

Maybe a lot of young people are this way.

As the years went by, I realized I was doing things for others and not for me. And the thing is, I don’t know that saying “yes” all the time actually benefited others.

I mean, on the surface it may have. But I think eventually this behavior hurt people. When I realized I was in a relationship or job that actually wasn’t right for me, I ended things abruptly.

While it’s good I was honest about how I felt, I wasted some people’s time in the process. They would have wanted someone around who was committed to the relationship or project at hand. (more…)