To those who haven’t yet received an acknowledgment of their donations: it’s taking longer than I’d planned to write each of you. My sincere apologies to those who are concerned about the fate of their gifts to Gates of Vienna for the Summer Fundraiser. That event is now fast disappearing into the misty past, back there with the ’quakes and ’canes of August.
Though the Baron could have had the notes done in half the time with much less exertion on his part, so far I’ve managed to hold onto this part of the job. I actually like writing thank you notes, even though my ADD is quite obvious by the time you get to the last line of one of my epistles. In fact, this ‘update’ was planned as a two-paragraph update on the status of the emails to donors. My acknowledgments start out that way too.
My theory about this (and yes, I do indeed have a Theory for Everything) is that the process of thanking people individually increases my endorphin level, which in turn decreases the ability of my pain receptors to perform quite as exquisitely as they might do were I not distracted by this pleasant task. Somewhere, a government-funded study is proving my theory about gratitude and pain reduction. I could have told them and saved a bunch of money, but somehow that probably defeats the purposes of modern governance — i.e., to spread small amounts of wealth among the college-educated who might not otherwise be gainfully employed. So what’s the harm, they get to “prove” what my derriere already knows for a fact: expressing gratitude at some length is a whole-body experience that benefits the writer more than the receiver.
The only catch is in the part where I have to sit down too long on those painful muscles. If I could write your note whilst standing on my head, or kneeling in front of a low table, that might relieve some of the problem. Unfortunately, it would create others — too long a tale to be interesting so let’s not go there.
Complicating things this time is my ongoing sadness about the situation in Norway. To understand how deeply totalitarian the Norwegian culture is has come as a shock. It’s a whole-body, -mind, and -spirit grieving, and the process has perceptibly changed me. Just as 9/11 changed the core of who I was/am, so has Utøya, and more especially, the exposure to Norwegian ‘culture’. Having seen so many examples of it in our emails, I know now what totalitarian democracy means. Whether decided for them, or arranged by their elites, Norwegians live in such a system; I am working hard to fully comprehend that loss — all due to my own ignorance, but knowing that doesn’t make the reality easier.
But be of good cheer, dear donors: your note will get to you eventually no matter how late in the cycle you sent in your gift.
I take my time with each one, and then sometimes I have to respond to donors who have questions about my note. If I leave those until all the first notes are done, I’d lose track. Thus, sometimes a note will end up with two or three replies.
Think of it this way: remember the fad for “slow food” as an answer to the hamburger joints like Mickey D’s? Slowing down to prepare food from scratch has some merit. I usually cook like that, but it’s because I have the time and inclination. And these days, I definitely have more time than money so unprocessed food is easier on the budget. But, as the Baron often pointed out when we ventured into a health food store to buy sheep’s milk mozzarella, “the all-pervading odor of sanctimony” can be overpowering with the slow foodies. I still like Wendy’s chili on a cold February afternoon despite the orthodoxies trampled upon to get that cup.
So… consider your long-overdue thank you note, sure to arrive any day now, as a virtuous pushback against the form letter or the “fill-in-the-blank-thanks-bye” email the Baron would be forced to send since he’s always short of time. He saves great gobs of that most precious commodity by automating the things he has to do — particularly the news feed — and out of necessity, he would have also to roll your thank you through one of his handy-dandy computer gizmos. The acknowledgment would arrive at your inbox in no time flat, no doubt within hours of his receipt of it.
However, since I must, I’ll stick with the slow version and won’t let him pry it out of my hands. Not yet, anyway. I can’t call it ‘snail mail’ for obvious reasons, but let’s think of it as Tortoise Thank Yous written and sent when my gluteus medius is mercifully numb and my mind is playing an old version of Blue Skies.