Last Monday I posted this quote. This week I am reposting it with some context–it is my weekly column for the newspaper:
“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.” ~ Margaret Drabble, English author
“Things I Know for Sure” is a topic that Oprah takes on monthly in her magazine. She is sure about a lot of things, but I imagine a column called “Things I Do Not Know For Sure” would have a longevity far outlasting our lives on this earth.
Sure is a strong word, a confident word: one that should not be bandied about lightly. This I know for sure. When you start to work with a word whose cousins are unquestionable, undisputed, certain, definite, unerring, infallible, and accurate among others (sorry to the cousins, better known as synonyms I have left out) then you should be certain of what you are saying. I am hardly ever “certain” of what I am saying, as so many factors make up a situation.
I like Margaret Drabble’s quote that, “When nothing is sure, everything is possible” as it gives you leeway. If you know something for sure there is no wiggle room. Sometimes you do not need wiggle room, but sometimes you do. And in that wiggle room there is space for possibility.
I am going to take on Oprah’s generous mantle and give you some examples of things that I do know for sure. There are certain givens when it comes to being sure about something—I know for sure that I love a variety of people in my life: my husband and kids and my family among them. But most of us know these things for sure. (Not all of us—some of us were given families that are hard to love—I was lucky in this respect). But here are some other things that I know for sure:
1. Even though this is the last week in February, and it seems like spring will never come– it will. For sure. And it will surprise us. Every year I am surprised when the trees bud and sprout leaves; when the daffodils show their frilly heads; when I no longer have to don coat and hat and mitts and boots to go out the door.
2. Unless there is some other reason to do so, I will always write up this column and council news as the deadline looms dangerously close. I wish I did not know this for sure.
3. I will never become a cat woman. Or Cat Woman. The first because I only sort of like the cat we have (the one my family loves to bits); and I am too old to be cast in a Batman movie. Also, I am not an actress (though I am not sure this is a real prerequisite to playing Cat Woman). There are a number of other obvious reasons I could not be Cat Woman, but my ego is too fragile to go into them.
4. I will never become a gourmet cook unless I have someone to clean up after me. Sure, I would love to cook to my heart’s content, and I admit my fast and frenzied time in the kitchen is cut short by the thought of having to clean up the mess I have made. I would even try recipes that have more than five ingredients and three steps if I had someone cleaning up the havoc I have wrought.
5. I will continue to spray Pledge in the air and put the vacuum out to make it smell and look like I care about a clean house. I do care about a clean house, but once I clean it, I would like it to stay that way. What I know for sure: it will never stay that way. (And for good reason—people have to live here.)
6. I know for sure that now that Council is only twice a month, there will be no more surprise meetings of less than an hour. I am sure this will not happen—if we get out of there in less than two hours it is a miracle. Then again, do we want the business of the municipality rushed? I think not—but I do remember those short meetings fondly.
7. I now know for sure that I will not get an exclusive interview with the Queen. First of all she has acquiesced to a number of interviews over the years; and second, it is not in this paper’s budget.
8. I know for sure that I will not be writing a column about all the things that I do not know for sure. I will save that for Volumes 1-13 on the subject. Each a thousand pages. There is a lot I do not know for sure.
So, you and I are just going to have to placate ourselves with the fact that knowing things for sure really does limit possibilities—and who would want that?
Possibility is the ultimate bliss–what do you think?