I’m a happy person. It’s in my very nature, to my core, to want to get out of bed with a song in my heart and good wishes for all and sundry. Typically those things never occur, because this is the real world, where -- to my knowledge -- there is no such thing as an intravenous coffee drip being turned on, quietly awakening one so that you might tackle your day with as much enthusiasm as Snow White before you.
No one is happy all the time. Anyone who says otherwise is lying or the Joker from Batman. To say that I’m naturally a happy person isn’t to say that I am without my dark and stormy days. To whit, this is why I have a bedroom with a door that closes and all of the TV that there is to watch while I eat every Magnum bar I can safely and reasonably acquire.
When I say I’m happy by nature, I mean, it doesn’t take a lot to make me smile. At my parents' home last week (I was there while my dad had cataract surgery), I spotted a massive woodchuck gathering up fallen birdseed in the yard and you’d think said that chuck was all of One Direction and I, a veritable army of teenaged girls, so rampant was my giggling screaming and picture-taking.
Animals, chocolate bars, funny friends, a high-ranking Scrabble world, puns about wieners, these are things that make me grin. The sources of my joy and delight are easy to spot, to pin down, but they are tough to conjure up when I’m sad. Because the sources of my sorrow are much less concrete. I know, I know -- I’m vast and contain multitudes. I can both lose my mind with glee when my cat rolls onto his back for belly rubs AND acknowledge that I’ve got a bubble in my brain that makes me sad sometimes for no reason.
When I’m down for no reason other than my biology, I employ the aforementioned room-tv-ice-cream route or I have a system of tools at my disposal, which I whip out to get my endorphins up -- mostly exercise or journaling. Or wondering how much Pepperidge Farms actually does remember. I take a lot of pride in my ability to regulate my depression. As a control freak, I spend a lot of time berating myself for being so rigid, so any opportunity to praise myself I will take.
That’s why it’s so bananas when I lose it totally on airplanes. Yeah, I’m scared of flying, whatever, it’s logical to be afraid of flying -- you are in a metal tube cutting the sky in half VERY FAR AWAY FROM THE GROUND. I accept that this wigs me out, I accept that I’m going to touch the plane three times before boarding so it won’t plummet unexpectedly to the ground, I accept that I will never watch Lost because I can’t make it through the pilot -- but I cannot accept what happens next.
I try to white-knuckle through the flight, holding my breath at turbulence, trying not to take a pill or drink (so, you know, when the plane DOES crash, I have my wits about me). This does me fine until I start to distract myself with reading or watching TV or a movie. That's when it all goes to complete shit.
This is when the artifice breaks and I can sit atop the perilous volcano of my emotions no longer. It doesn’t matter what I’m reading or watching -- I will weep. Not cry. I will SOB. There will be tears, hiccoughs, snot, and the jagged barely-caught breaths of a woman in great pain. And it will be because I am so happy things worked out for Robin Williams and his family at the end of R.V.
“Are you okay?” the guy sitting next to me might ask as I clutch my breaking heart at yet another tabloid being a dick to the clearly hilarious and intelligent and sexy Khloe Kardashian, “I -- I -- just don’t understand how people can be so cruel?"
If were watching, say, the final installment of the Twilight Saga, on solid ground, I’d most likely be dry-eyed and maybe a little sarcastic. But catch me watching it in the air and I’m biting the insides of my cheeks to keep from visibly losing it. I’m not crying because the tale of Bella has wrecked me. I’m losing it over the fact that these actors have all worked together for so long, and now that chapter of their lives is over and now they have to move on. WHY DID GOD MAKE ME SO STRANGE, WORLD?
Seriously though -- I got really sad while watching "The Silver Linings Playbook," not because of the story, but because I started worrying about whether or not Bradley Cooper is a happy person. This is not, with all due deference to Bradley Cooper, something I would spend much time pondering with my feet on solid earth.
Is it something about the flying? Some studies would say that it is, and kids, you know I love a good study. If it's such -- as a quick Googling would indicate -- a common phenomenon, why when I'm staring around for a sympathetic face on my flights of sorrow do I never see another teary face? Am I the only one who cries on airplanes? Is Google trying to make me feel better? Do you find yourself more susceptible to crying in the air than you do other places? Tell me!