Friday, June 02, 2006

The way it goes

1. First I write this:

Have you seen the film Love Actually? It was on TV here a few weeks ago and I was thinking about it again this morning, specifically the character played by Emma Thompson ("a comfortably married woman suspecting that her husband is slipping away..." according to the official web site, which takes years to load). More specifically, I was sitting in the bathroom and crying about how I've become exactly like her. To set the scene, you need to know that even when I'm desperately trying to impress myself with how extremely miserable I am,** there's still one small part of my brain functioning in an almost-sensible manner. And it kicked in this morning:

ME: I’ve turned into the Emma Thompson character! (boo hoo hoo!!)
ME: It’s obvious!!
BRAIN: You have a husband like hers?
ME: No.
BRAIN: You have children like hers?
ME: No.
BRAIN: You have friends like hers?
ME: No.
BRAIN: You have a house/context/life like hers?
ME: No.
BRAIN: Then how are you like her in any way??
ME: She cries in a room on her own and she's got fat thighs!

Oh Lord give me strength.

PS. ** I'm not talking about healthy crying for healthy reasons. This is different: it's stupid crying for melodramatic reasons, even (or especially) if the drama queen is the only person there to appreciate the performance. If you're similarly inclined to such theatrics (because I really really really hope I'm not the only one) and you want a way to snap out of it, try this: in the middle of sobbing, you must say out loud, preferably with big arm gestures of despair: "BOO HOO HOO!" You'll be laughing in no time. Because yes, you're a fool. And it's funny.

2. Well, I thought it was funny. I was laughing at myself, put it that way, and was hoping you'd also see the funny side of it. But then - looking for something else - I found this in The Simpsons Archive:

[Lisa is meeting her fiancée's parents]

LISA: Beautiful dinnerware, Mrs. Parkfield.
MRS P: Thank you, Lisa. They were made for the finest family in Britain.
MR P: I don't know how we ended up with them.
LISA'S BRAIN: Uh oh. Should I laugh? Was that dry British wit, or subtle self-pity? Ooh, they're staring at me, better respond.
LISA: [laughs very tentatively]
MR P: Oh, it's good to hear a boisterous American laugh!
The idea of "subtle self-pity" suddenly seemed not all that unfamiliar. See, perhaps, Step 1. Was I just being self-pitying there? Trying to be funny, but in fact saying Oh Poor Me? Hmmm... Well... Hmmm... Well... Damn it all to hell, in fact, yes!

Self-pitying. Damn. It's so.. you know, pitiful.

So I can't publish that post, damn it! I don't want anyone thinking I'm pitiful! DAMN!! And if I keep overusing the word "damn" in this manner, it's quickly going to turn ugly, instead of those cutesy earthy overtones I'm trying so hard for.

3. Then I remember this:

Tohby Riddle, Good Weekend magazine, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 August 2002, p.11.

I really like that hat. I've always hoped she went out wearing it.

4. And so here we are at Step 4, and the self-pitying post gets published. What the hell, I'm thinking. Pitiful it may be, but that's not the whole of it, or me. And that's the way it goes, and that's the way it should go. Funny hats are good.