"That's what you call a 'come up'," said my friend Ashanntí.
"A what?" I asked. "You mean like a comeuppance? Where you get what you deserved?" I am positive my puzzled reaction was evident even over the telephone. That is when Ashanntí explained to me that a "come up" is akin to gaining something unexpected. I guess if you were translate the colloquialism into more formal speech, it would be similar in some respects to the word "serendipity" or perhaps when you get a great deal on something.
Since we both are writers - actually I should say she is the public relations professional, I merely pretend to be one by though the artful use of smoke and mirrors - we both have a great interest in language, despite the divergence in genres. For instance if I come across an unfamiliar word, I might share it with her as the GRE word of the day. An example of this came about recently when I was reading the blog of my all-time favorite talk show host, Dick Cavett, when he described some of the goings on with the McCain-Palin campaign as "malodorous" (having an unpleasant stench). As I have shared some sesquipedalian terms with her, she has enlightened me with terms such as "bop" (to covet), and peep game - which not only can I not recall it's meaning, I can't begin to try to incorporate it into a sentence.
Nevertheless, I have fun learning new slang. I know I can come across as a bit formal in the way I speak (and write for that matter), but it's not because I abhor slang terms, I just don't think I know very many.
Given that I had learned this new phrase, I was quite excited to actually put its usage into action. And for good reason too, I was assigned some work where I would receive a full-day's pay while working only half the day. A come up for sure. Or so I thought.
Unfortunately I celebrated much too soon because as I prepared to leave for the day I realized I lost my keys.
There are not too many instances in life where you feel more helpless than when you misplace your keys. One second they're in your hand and poof - they vanish faster than a roach when the lights come on. It's very unnerving to say the least as you wrack your brain in vain attempting to meticulously go over every place you might have been.
I am sure we have all lost our keys at one time or another, so I am certain most of you can relate to what I experienced. Let's just say I was beyond frustrated. Not only were the keys to my apartment on the ring, but also my car keys. Without my keys, getting home, or anywhere else for that matter, would be an arduous task.
I will admit this is not the first time I have performed in such a boneheaded fashion. Not all that long ago, I lost my keys and literally left them on the streets of Pasadena, California. Once again, I rifled through my memory banks and concluded I had left them on a cement stump in front of the Border's Book Store on Lake Avenue. Amazingly, I was right. Even more miraculous was the fact that someone saw the keys and handed them to store personnel for safe keeping.
It is also no secret that many of us are mortified by the prospect of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and we immediately associate our forgetfulness as a clear sign we are on the road to despair even when we are clearly not. If anything it's more a product of me simply being a bit absent minded. Or perhaps I get distracted much too easily.
While living alone can have many advantages, losing your keys and being out on your own is certainly not one of them. What if I hadn't been fairly close to home and the offices of the company that manages the property where I live? It could have been a real mess.
While I still have yet to rediscover my keys, at least I was able to find a few workarounds and get into my house and retrieve my locked car - but they sure weren't easy (which involved a LOT of walking and cycling - and you folks wonder why I am so slim. Ha!)
I asked Ashanntí what the opposite of a come up would be. Unfortunately she had no answer. I guess my best reply to that is "bummer." I shall keep you informed.
Well, I gotta scoot...
PS – I found the keys. They were exactly where I thought I had left them. Maybe I got that "come up" after all.