Dealing With Family and Friends
When she thought of economy, she thought of social exchange theory — the idea that relationships are based on give and take; our feelings about relationships rest on perceptions of the balance between what we get out of them and what we put in. Usually, she wouldn’t have put her thoughts on paper, but this time she did — as concisely as possible, using the medium of the postcard which embodies economy of words (few) and form (small).
The small print, barely legible, made her think of the papers she’d signed that morning — typical legalistic transaction papers that detailed who gave how much for what: 23 Euro for temporary ownership of a compact car, fully insured.
Now for a tobacco shop, to get some stamps. Driving down the bay road, she scanned for the yellow sign, partly wishing she wouldn’t find one. Yet, there it was. Exactly four minutes later it was done — the stamp bought, glued to the card, the card on the way, like her again, and her thoughts. Small print, she concluded, is invisible with family and friends, even though it’s always part of the subtext; unstated and implicit yet ever-present, like a PS suggesting an afterthought of little importance — which, in social exchange, really isn’t.
Download the MP3 (reading by Karyn)