Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Expecting the Worst

I mentioned before (I think) that on my way to Yola last time, I received some friendly advice: Set your expectations as low as you can, then one or two notches lower than THAT, and you will on occasion be pleasantly surprised. That is supposedly the secret to happiness in Nigeria.

That may or may not work for day-to-day matters. I'm not yet qualified to comment. But it sure is terrible advice for preparing to get there.

Other friendly advice has told us not to ship ourselves any food or valuables because it might stolen by customs officials. Okay, but what's valuable? We aren't big into jewelry and flashy expensive looking things anyway. We got some new electronics, like a second step-down power transformer to reduce the chance of frying our stuff. It weighs about half as much as my toddler. I'd rather not carry it, but I'd sure hate to not have it. So do I ship it? Or maybe I should ship the toddler... ;)

Then there's everything else we're packing: If it wasn't valuable to me, I wouldn't be taking the time to ship it. Is my music collection valuable? At least 700 CDs in three boxes. But valuable? Expecting the worst means saying goodbye to everything I pack, just in case, and I will be pleasantly surprised when I get three mismatched socks back, four months late.
"More [worst] than you can imagine!"
"I dunno, I can imagine quite a bit."

Maybe my imagination for the worst is too good. Joy says, "I'm glad none of that crossed my mind before." Sorry, dear. "Well I'm a realist and if I hadn't thought of all that ... now I'm in real trouble."

This is the problem with expecting the worst.

 -- Derrill