I checked my email this morning to find the bi-weekly “Note from the Universe” (because I’m from Portland, Oregon and surface attempts at self-actualization are required for maintained citizenship) and read this:
An old soul is not an old soul by virtue of age, Stacy, but for their patience, self-measure, and happy tears for no apparent reason.
I started reading the email with my usual mix of sarcasm, cynicism, yet just enough doe-eyed belief in an anthropomorphized Universe to keep me reading anyway. Generally my reaction at reading these goes something like this:
‘Huh. I wonder if this guy actually makes money doing this? Maybe I should start an email list like ‘Things your nose is thinking.’ – but hey, that’s a good point about <insert broadly applicable feel-good-but-just-challenging-enough-to-seem-wise-topic-here>’ at which point I shrug and hit the delete key.
This time, however, was different. By the time I hit the “Hmmmm”, I was sold – hook, Line and Spiritual-Sinker. Let me explain.
My mother and I share a much-maligned tendency towards the random and spontaneous ugly-cry. Mom’s partner, after more than a decade together, finds it simultaneously hilarious and infuriating. And in my relationship, it’s still early enough to be considered adorable. (I’m expecting an exasperated sigh any day now, marking the exact moment that romance died.) Also, according to my Mom, it just gets worse with age. Looking forward to that.
SO, clearly this guy’s a genius. Forget everything I said about being a cynic. It makes perfect sense that our perpetual waterworks are not, in fact, a gross and comedic genetic flaw nor are they indicative of some deep-seated emotional trauma which there isn’t enough therapy on earth to unravel. OBVIOUSLY they’re an indication of our vast spiritual superiority over our more stoic contemporaries. To this end, I offer up evidence supporting my claims of being better than anyone who doesn’t cry at that video where the huge lion hugs that one dude.
Sea World. San Diego. As I sat on the cold, steel bleachers and stared at a rippling surface of the water, I began to feel the familiar stirrings. Then out came Shamu. There was nothing to be done at that point. It was all over. I pulled my shirt sleeve down and set to work slyly mopping up the evidence, face turned to the side, shoulders shaking in quiet heartbreak. My long-term girlfriend at the time turned to look at me with a mix of concern and suspicion. “You’re crying because he’s a big fish, aren’t you?” I shook my head in the affirmative, mostly ‘cuz I was too overcome to speak any actual words. She sighed, pet me on the knee and went back to watching the show. Like usual.
Are you trying to kill me?!”
Pretty much the best way to incapacitate me with emotion is to show me a flash mob video. If it has a dancing element, it’s actually possible to paralyze me with the weeping. The dancing can be professional or like a bad audition on America’s Got Talent. The music can be beautiful and inspiring, or it can be one dude with bronchitis and a kazoo. It doesn’t matter. All that DOES matter is that there are two or more people doing something vaguely synchronized to some kind of soundtrack, at which point I am undone.
In perhaps the most convincing testimony in my case for spiritual advance, I bring you open weeping at none other than Riverdance. Yes. Riverdance. The deeply infuriating prancing of ego-maniacal man-divas and the relentless clompity-clompity-clomping of their backup babes. Clearly, given my already admitted weakness for synchronized dance, I shouldn’t have been surprised by my emotional reaction. And yet, my loathing for Riverdance is so deeply embedded in my subconscious that nothing could have prepared me for the tears as they arrived. I sat there in the free seat I had accepted as a lark, as full of rage and confusion about the tears as I was about the dancing itself. This moment, which at the time felt like the greatest injury perpetrated by my inherited weepiness can now, in the light of new information, only be explained as the moment in which I attained enlightenment.