An Invitation - NotWednesday, May 07, 2014
|Invitation to go to Madrid on May 7.|
Sometimes one language over another might reveal the meaning behind a word. Most of us would never consider that the verb to invite which comes from Latin means with or in life.
In is much more obvious in Spanish where the word has two versions. One is invitar and the other envidar. The latter is sometimes used in an old Spanish card game and it means to invite to play.
Envidar is much closer in hinting that to invite means I have something to share with you. This word, then is a very intimate. An invitation (not that odd and more mechanical sounding invite) is something personal and very special.
I once had a very beautiful woman call me up in the middle of the night for an invitsation that as pleasant as it was I had to refuse. This woman, of Latin origin, wanted me to take a course (she was going to pay) at a local encounter group called Lifespring. This encounter group was going to help me remove all my guilt so I could abandon my wife and two daughters and move to Hawaii with this wonderful woman.
When I first arrived in Vancouver in 1975 Rosemary and were invited to something called “after dinner drinks”. Neither Rosemary (born in New Dublin, Ontario) or I knew what exactly this meant. I thought it was odd. For many years when people from abroad asked me about Vancouver I invariably said, “Vancouverites are as cold as their tap water.”
At 71, in my de facto retirement I can state that phone calls are at a minimum as are invites to (Thank God!) to stag parties, Saturday weddings (that ruin your weekend), birthday parties and parties in general. I do feel a tad isolated. But then many of my generation are dead or suffering from life threatening diseases or going through rapid mental deterioration.
That most personal invitation, one to visit someone began to fall apart with the advent of web pages. The Vancouver Sanitation Department invited you to “come and visit us at VancSanDep.Ca”. Fantastic I was being invited to look at all I did not want to know about garbage.
Browse is another word that has lost its strength. Whenever I browsed at Duthies the people who worked there knew me and they would approach to suggest. This was pleasant. Browsing at Chapters is not quite the same. For personal attention, re cameras I go to Leo’s Cameras as opposed to Future Shop where attention is impersonal.
All that brings me to a pet peeve I have harboured for some time. This is the facebook invite.
If you invite someone to your birthday party you might be decent enough to state you don’t want a present. If you invite someone for dinner you might tell them not to bring anything. You just want the pleasure of the company.
But these facebook invitations to events in which you are given three choices, to go, not go or be in doubt about going, involve you, the invitee to pay so you can go to the event. I get invitations in facebook by people I don’t really know to go to rock concerts late at night (who goes to those anymore?) or to art openings.
It is easy for me to invite my friend John Lekich for dinner. I can call him up. I can email him or (and I don’t quite know why I would do this) direct message him in facebook. This would signal to Lekich that I am not sending a blanket invitation to all the people I know or know a little in facebook, even those who are geographically somewhere else. Standard facebook reply to one of these blanket invitations is, “I would love to attend but I will be out of town attending my mother-in-law’s funeral.”
By matter of principle I ignore all facebook blanket invitations. But I can be directly messaged. That is a tad more personal.