Chagrin, Aikido, Wedding and the Airplane
The idea of person A's reaction to person B being unwanted enough to fill person B with chagrin (for example, person B does something he thinks laudable and instead person A laughs) came up, and I used the phrase chagrin-producing to describe person A's reaction. Scott thought this concept should have its own word, and came up with chagrinizing, sounding similar to and constructed much the same as agonizing.
I'm trying to figure out why I didn't use the word embarrassing or mortifying or humiliating. Chagrin seems to me very different from mortification or embarrassment or humiliation. Embarrassment seems to be the most general term--it includes chagrin, but is not as precise as it. Mortification seems to be extreme embarrassment. You don't just blush
, you want to die
. The cause and structure of the circumstances are still general, however. Humiliation seems to involve an element of victimhood. A humiliation is caused by a malicious other party. Your pants falling down slightly is embarrassing. Your pants falling down all the way is mortifying. Being "pantsed" by someone mean is humiliating.
To me chagrin has a slightly different quality. Pants falling down slightly, and perhaps no one else noticing. Taking your pants off on purpose and not getting quite the reaction you wanted. Bragging about how tight your pants are only to have them slip down. There is a quality of self-directed ruefulness or self-causation. A person who is embarrassed to themselves, more than to anyone else, is experiencing chagrin. It's sort of a darker, involuntary version of laughing at oneself. It doesn't always have to be because of someone else's reaction, but it can be, when said reaction doesn't do well with the person's self-image. I can't justify this difference from the etymology or definitions
I've found at all. But I'm sure it's not just my idea.
Well, all that said, today ended up being a bit chagrinizing. I was all excited and eager to go to Aikido, and I ended up being really quite late instead. But the wonderful uchi-deshi
Jen was kind enough to help me get into my gi faster, and the instructor was very gracious about accepting my apologies afterwards. Still . ..
I stayed late to watch the non-beginner's class, and I've decided the one thing that totally bowls me over and is completely not in common with dance is the falling and tumbling. All the other motions I've seen, even if I have no idea how to do them, still don't look like magic
. Twisting, sliding, pushing, jumping, alright. But the Aikidoists fall and tumble as if they're falling into bed or moving through water. It is completely beyond my comprehension. The physics almost seems a bit off to me--like, how can that change in momentum not hurt
horribly? I have no idea if we'll get anywhere near doing that in this already short seeming 8 week course. But even if I don't ever get the chance to try it, I'd really like to understand the mechanics of it better. It's quite addictive to watch.
I told my friend Kevin about my new class, and he dug up this website on Aikido.
Kevin is getting married in three days, to one of my oldest and best friends from college, Rebecca. I'll be out of town for that, so blog postings may be even more spare than they have been. Wish them all happiness in the meantime!
I went to visit my high school, The Athenian School
, last Saturday, and I found out the students are building an airplane. I saw the airplane. It's a two-seat Piper, and the wings were built in the woodshop. Wowza. And that's all I have to say about that, for now anyway.