“I learned how to say monde takk. Mande takk? I can’t remember. SEE? It’s awful! I’m so bad at this! And this Norwegian podcast I listen to is all like, ‘Norwegian is easy for English speakers,’ and I’m thinking, ‘What’s Norwegian for if you don’t stop saying that I will kick you in the balls?”
“Mange takk is the one you are looking for, I think,” she says. “Many thanks, or thanks a lot, it means.”
“Yes, that’s the one!”
And then she adds, “Om du ikke slutter å si det der, kommer jeg til å gi deg et skikkelig ballespark.”
I smile. “Does that mean what I THINK IT MEANS?”
I can almost see her nodding. “That’s the shut up/kick your balls you asked for.”
Half a world away from her, I’m sitting with my laptop, laughing so hard. “MANGE TAKK!” I say.
“Det var da så lite,” she replies.
C. is my favorite Norwegian.
It’s good to have friends who understand days like this. I notice people with chronic illness talking about it a lot more on social media, and that visibility feels good. I’m glad to be among them, finally writing about it, even if I do only get eight hits a day. But what a glorious eight hits! You eight people are the crème de la crème of humanity, I’m sure of it.
I have my dream of someday sailing far – all the way across the ocean, in fact, to see C. and to visit the canals of Europe. It’s quite the vision for someone who spent the better part of the day curled up with her corgi because she was too weak to move. But I’ve decided that any dream that makes you happy is a good dream. There are caveats, of course. I think your life plans should not involve hurting people. If your dream is to rid the world of puppies or people who say “irregardless”, then I think you should reconsider your strategies.
I asked Greg once, “Is it crazy to have this dream, that I couldn’t possibly do now, and that in ten years there’s an excellent chance I still might not be able to do?”
Greg said, “If a dream makes it easy for someone to avoid life, to be an escape, then I don’t think it’s a good one. But if a dream helps you live more fully now, if it gets a person off the couch and makes them be more engaged in the present, and makes them happy, then I think it’s a good dream.”
That’s right, I married the Buddha. And he isn’t a fat little bald Indian guy, he’s a tall and skinny part-Native American software engineer with a really nice head of hair.
It is a good dream, I’ve decided. “It isn’t a dream, it’s a plan,” C. tells me. “Yes,” I replied. “That’s much better.” Even if today it didn’t get me off the couch.