Story (or Two):
I taught a grammar and writing refresher course to Executive MBA students at UNLV Saturday, and I covered everything from punctuation and grammar to APA Style and defensive writing. One exercise I gave them asked them to look at 20 sentences and tell me what, if anything, was wrong with each example.
Everyone missed #10: We are anxious to show you how our company can save you money. The sentences is okay as it's written, they insisted. There are no misspellings, no punctuation errors, no incomplete clauses or phrases. Do you see the problem?
"Look at the words," I told them. "Word choice is as important in writing as grammar and punctuation." Still confused, they stared blankly at me. "Are you really anxious to show someone how your company can save him/her money?" Fireworks. They understood. Anxious = nervous, fretful, fidgety, jittery. It's not exactly the impression one wants to leave with a client.
|Rooftops of Bologna|
That said, I'm 10 days out from leaving for Italy, and I'm quite anxious. I'm not afraid or nervous, but I am in the jittery, fidgety state that envelopes me whenever I travel. It doesn't matter if I'm going to LA for a few days, Richmond to see Jason, or anywhere far away, I get a good case of the nerves about two weeks before I leave.
I blame my mother for my I'm-a-bigger-worrier-than-thou syndrome. The woman could worry up a storm if she forgot to buy something at the grocery or if we missed a turn when driving somewhere. Seriously. Once when I was about six or seven, we were driving on Youngstown-Poland Road, and my father didn't turn on Wingate, the street that would bring us home.
"Mike! Mike!!" she yelled. "You missed the turn! Where are we going?"
If you know the area, and anyone from that part of Youngstown, Poland, Boardman, or Struthers probably will, you know that passing Wingate is not a big deal because one can either cut through Byzantine Catholic Central's parking lot or turn right on Mathew's Lane and arrive on Sheridan Road from which we could access Wingate.
Her hysterical outburst scared the crap out of my brother and me, and my father jumped.
"Oh, my God! I missed the turn," he jumped up and down in the seat as he hollered. "I missed the turn. We're doomed." I still remember how my heart was pounding. He settled down and said, "I'm taking the kids to Zedaker's." Zekader's had (and still has) pony rides. http://www.zedakers.com/
|City Hall, Bologna|
So, I'm second-guessing myself on everything right now: Am I crazy to do this? What should I pack? What if I forget something? What if I lose something? Should I...? Do I...?
The interesting thing about my anxiety, though, is that once I'm situated on the plane, I'll be fine...and that's a good thing.
Now, if I can get through the next 10 days.....