i have a friend at work. and she makes me laugh. belly aching laughs.
i understand her humor. she understands mine.
i didn't use to be funny. ever. and now it's only ever occasional. if that.
yesterday, after explaining my brief panic attack to Dr. Bob (the therapist), and the feeling of being without a family, as well as the million other things i felt and thought and stepped in this week, he asked,
okay, so what will you do for yourself this week.
to which i replied.
i guess i'll have to go out and buy myself a new family.
i doesn't seem that funny when i write it down. but it was. i promise. it was the funniest thing i've said in months. the timing, the delivery--it was perfect. you just must believe me.
i brag about this boorish joke only because it truly is so few and far between that i strike comic gold (as i did), and when i do, it's never, ever in the right setting.
i mean, my therapist? he laughed and all, but that's as close as you can get to being by yourself and still having an audience.
oh if only my humor were to become widespread--common knowledge. my sparkling and dazzling personality fails in crowds and necessary situations. and i brag out my personality because even i am beginning to question its existence?
so back to this friend. at work. it is one of my great (and only) joys of my current position to listen as said friend makes proclamations (or rather snap judgements) about each and every person we work for (our bosses). mispronounce her name once? you're a neanderthal. she's done with you. can't figure out that a cabbie won't take a $100 bill. you lose all credence (okay, so maybe that was my proclamation, but done in her spirit). so we got this new...higher up, who when he first met said friend, asked if he knew her from somewhere else, because he could swear she was this other person and so on and so on. so my friend said: i guess i have a doppelganger running around. and he said, a what? and she said, you know, a doppelganger. to which he replied, no, i don't know. what is that?
said friend immediately shared this story. we giggled, as school girls do, and conspiratorially decided he lacked the necessary breadth of knowledge.
imagine my chagrin when, for the next two weeks i went around telling this story, it always ended with listener asking me what in fact a doppelganger is. which then became another two weeks of me asking everyone i know if they knew the meaning of the word, and very, very few did. including my mother. and my mother knows many words. she keeps lists and looks them up. many a night was there dinner and a mirriam-webster dictionary on the table.
and then came the final blow. i asked Dr. Bob and he said, oh it sounds familiar and i'm sure i should know it, but go ahead and tell me. and Dr. Bob is the smartest person i know.
ah. the coup de grace.
yesterday ended up being rougher than expected. and i went to bed praying and crying. the former not a common act and the latter becoming a bit too habitual for comfort.
you see. i do know the meaning of doppelganger. but there is so much i have to work on.
i know, i know i'm not a great listener. and i get frustrated easily. and my face shows every ounce of that frustration and angst. i don't hide my feelings (which i think is a product of hiding them for so long) and while i really, really like this about myself--there is in fact a time and place. i have to learn to put on the mask when needed. and i need to learn to play the game. i'm not well spoken or articulate under stressful conditions. and i act like i'm ten more often than twenty-four. i hate confrontation and i hate having attention focused on me. i need to expand my tolerance for those who aren't as good at some things. or as well-versed in german venacular.
i got home last night. and the awareness of my countless failings seeped in and the tears began. and i thought, i used to smile all the time.
after my third year of school i headed to western new york to do Albert Camus' The Just. and there's this line my character, Dora says, "I remember when I was a schoolgirl. I used to laugh. I was pretty then. I spent hours wandering around and dreaming." and i thought. i know what she means. right now. in this moment. i understand. now, i get it.
through failure and failings comes understanding and awareness. and humility. and that will make me a better actor, a better writer, a better whatever-i-end-up-being.
a better person? yeah, that too. for now, let's work on that, cause i got some work to do.
and how to make my humor more accessible? that too. i gots some thinkin' to do on that fo'sho'.