As you might have read before here, I'm not a fan of overly happy-sounding music. Fun, for example, is one band I can't stand for that reason alone. This is how I previously described the way the music makes me feel:
"When I hear this I can't help but think, 'PLEASE, PLEASE MAKE THE GODDAMN JOY AND HAPPINESS STOP!' Which is probably bad... but true. It's too happy. I hate it. I hate it I hate it I hate it. Somebody needs to rip out this person's heart, trample on it, and make him eat what's left of it with a huge side of peas, because seriously."
And maybe it's bitter of me to look at a young couple holding hands, kissing on the street corner, looking into each other's eyes with love and devotion, and then think to myself I give it five months. Unless he has a nice car. She's probably looking at him like that because he reminds her of his brother, or worse - her cousin. And you can read into this however you like: I'm a writer, so it's natural to invent characters and conflict, or it makes me feel better when I'm not the one getting my neck slobbered on. Those are both accurate interpretations.
No matter how many times I've rolled my eyes and muttered, "Fucking Happy People," I know it doesn't take much to be happy. Cats, for instance, are supreme happiness-inducers - have you ever been on YouTube? And I am happy, which makes it okay for me to make fun of other Happy People. It's like racism. Racial slurs are okay as long as you're part of that race. Or when no one of that race is around.
A smile goes a long way. So long, in fact, that if a boy looked at me and smiled - good Lucy! - I'd be ecstatic for the rest of the day. But, you know, a cute boy. Not a 12 year-old. But, as I found out yesterday, there is one thing that can really make a person, and everyone around that person, happy:
It started off when I lost my mind yesterday morning. Either because I was abducted by aliens overnight and had my brain removed and poked at, and when it was put back in, not everything was the way it used to be, rendering me even more insane than usual, or because I stayed up late writing an assignment that was due the following day, or both, I left for school an hour early. I've often made the mistake of thinking I had to leave earlier than I actually needed to, but I had never followed through with it until yesterday. My class was at 1:00PM, and I bolted out of my house with wet hair at 11:15AM. I couldn't believe how late I was going to be. I put on my earrings as I walked down the street and I cut through the park. It takes me fifteen minutes to get to the bus stop, another fifteen to get to the university, and about ten minutes to walk from the bus terminal to my class. Luckily, before I left home, I checked the bus schedule to see when the #9 would go down Cove Street*, the road that goes straight to my bus stop. Taking the bus saves me ten minutes, so I rushed over to the nearest stop.
As I turned the corner, I faced an unusual sight. My first thought, of course, was Is this person crazy?. Her hair was up in a messy bun, but a few chestnut-brown strands insisted on dangling around her face. I approached with caution. Thin and tall, she wore tight black pants and carried a backpack. As I got closer, I realized what this was. This was a Happy Person. But she was no ordinary Happy Person. She was a dancing Happy Person. She was the president. I smiled at her when I got to the bus stop, and she smiled back without stopping, without considering what I might think of her. And what would I think of her? Apart from the initial "Is this a crazy person?", I thought she was ballsy as hell. But what did it matter? She was so into her iPod that she really didn't care.
I stood there next to her, thinking about how I'm nothing like her. There are so many things that I wouldn't let myself do in public because I don't have what this woman had. She was shaking her hips, tossing her head back and forth, and smiling the biggest goddamn smile I ever saw a Happy Person make. And then I looked at the people in the cars driving by. Almost every single one looked at her and smiled. A couple of people honked, and instead of feeling uncomfortable or vulnerable or exposed like I would, her smile grew. Maybe she is crazy, I thought.
Soon enough, the bus came.
"Must be a good song," the bus driver said when she got on.
"Yeah!" she replied.
We both got off the bus at the same stop and headed towards the next one, university-bound. She was in front of me and I got a whiff of her perfume: pink flowers. I don't know why pink, but pink.
She looked over at me a couple of times and finally said, "Going to university?"
"Yeah," I replied.
"Nice! Lots of midterms this week?"
"Actually, no, since most of my courses are writing courses."
"Oh, sweet! Are you getting into journalism or English?"
"Creative Writing. Like novels and short stories and stuff. How about you?"
"Science. I've got a chemistry midterm tomorrow."
"Oh? Sounds like fun! Hey, I wanted to ask you where you got your balls."
"My balls? Ha, ha. I don't know, I just get really into it. It can be hard at first, but once you get a couple of smiles, it's easy, and then you just keep going. It gets me ready for the day, and it's good exercise, too."
"What kind of music do you listen to?"
"Anything. This is actually my friend's iPod."
"Huh. That's really neat. I don't think I could ever do what you do."
"Sure you could! It just takes some getting used to. Just try it out. I'm telling you, once you get a few smiles, it's a breeze."
If I was spiritual, or, rather, really self-centred, I could look at this day like it was planned out by some divine entity. If I hadn't lost my mind and decided I needed to leave an hour early for school, rushing so much I didn't have time to find my stapler or paper clips for my assignment (I had multiple copies to be workshopped), if I wasn't so late for being early, I wouldn't have gone to that bus stop and I wouldn't have seen that fascinating, fearless, Happy Person. I didn't even realize I was early until I was on the second bus.
After my encounter with the Happy Person, I started thinking about what might deter me from doing what she does - aside from the obvious "people will think I'm crazy but awesome but also crazy" issue. I don't like that I'm so hung up about what people think of me, so my excuse turned out to be my choice in music. The songs I dance to are embarrassing on their own, never mind the way you dance to them. So, today I decided it would be a good idea to prove that dancing to disco and music from the 80s in public is dangerous. I started filming. But then I thought, Maybe this isn't so bad. Maybe I can do this. Maybe I should. And by that I mean show the pretend-public: the internet. Millions more could possibly see the video than if I danced at a bus stop, but somehow it's less scary. I think this is where "ignorance is bliss" comes in, since I can't hear you laughing at me or talking about me. I can't see your raised eyebrow or wide-eyed stare. I do worry about what guys will think, though. There are creepy people in real life as well as online, but I have a plastic screen to protect me here. Out there, all I'd have is this new mini stapler I just bought.
But here it is, and good Lucy help me, in honour of President Happy Person, a video of me dancing.
I just watched it again and started perspiring like I had just run a marathon and not been lying down this entire time. Like a hot flash. I'm scared as shit, Globlets. I don't know if I can do this. I worry that it's too much ... upperladybodybits and bum. And Thanksgiving dinner and dessert. I don't think I was supposed to sing along. And that last one? I WORKED HARD TO GET TO THAT. I'm not a dancer, okay? I YouTubed a how-to and practised for maybe an hour. Or half an hour. I don't know. And it's not like I have zombie attire for every day of the year. My room isn't big enough to do it full-on, either! You people are so demanding.
Just. Shut up. Here it is. I'm going to be like President Happy Person now, okay?
MY LIFE IS OVER NAO.
But nobody reads this anyway, right? Right?
What is so strange/startling about a person dancing in public? Isn't dancing something humans do? Don't we walk around with music plugged into our ears all the time?
Here's real dancing:
(She should have worn less clothing in this film.)
*Street name and bus number changed because I always feel like somebody's watching me.