The Book of Human Emotions: From Ambiguphobia to Umpty - 154 Words from Around the World for How We Feel - Tiffany Watt Smith 2016


You just wait and see,” said Grandma.

The lights went down, the bottom of the curtain glowed. I loved it and have always loved it best of all, the moment when the lights go down, the curtain glows, you know that something wonderful is going to happen. It doesn’t matter if what happens next spoils everything; the anticipation itself is always pure.

To travel hopefully is better than to arrive, as Uncle Perry used to say. I always preferred foreplay, too.

Well. Not always.

—Angela Carter, Wise Children

Anticipation is a tiny theft of pleasure. A reckless spending of delights not yet owned.

Until the mid-nineteenth century, an anticipation was a sum of money spent before it was earned: an early payout on the dowry; an advance on next week’s wages. Some emotions can be traced back to the weather and others to the landscape. Anticipation, however, is firmly embedded in the history of economics and exchange.

Perhaps it’s this whiff of the scandalous (“neither a borrower nor a lender be!”) that makes some adults firmly budget their children’s expectations. Or perhaps, it’s just their familiarity with the effects of DISAPPOINTMENT. Looking forward to an event is one thing. Savoring in Technicolor detail what will happen when the curtain goes up, however, is not for the fainthearted. “In a delicious agony of anticipation,” writes Carter, the sisters knew the curtain would soon rise, “and then and then… what wonderful secrets would be revealed to us, then?”

“You just wait and see.”

For more on emotions and money see: GRATITUDE.