"All I wanted was a root beer, just one root beer, and they didn't give it to me." That's right, my first joke was a reference to a Suicidal Tendencies song with what has probably the worst music video I've ever seen (if you don't want to watch the whole thing, I don't blame you. The reference is exactly two minutes into the song). I'd stopped by the 7 Eleven on my way home to pick up some beverages for myself and my roommates, because I'm a nice guy, and knew I would be keeping them awake, so I thanked them with beverages.
I knew they were awake because as I was driving away from the wreckage of a life I'd not get to live, my roommate called me, asking what I was up to and how I was. "I'm doing great," I told her, holding back a whole lot, "I'm a little more single than I'd like to be, but you know..." and whatever else I said was probably incomprehensible. She told me to come home to have shots and a discussion with her and Chris. So I picked up beverages.
I am one-hundred percent sure that I was the weepiest-eyed bastard that had ever pulled into that 7 Eleven parking lot, but the moment I stepped into the building, I was the calmest and most collected bastard with a red, puffy face and tear streaks that had ever stepped inside at eleven pm. The guy working there asked me how I was in that disconnected "Hey, I'm just doing my job" sort of way.
"Best day of my life, how you doing?" Was my reply. It didn't fascinate me until I'd had an opportunity to stare at the beverage wall and determine that not only did I want a root beer, they didn't. Fucking. Have any. The drink I ended up with was wholly unsatisfying, but eh. I guess the drink isn't the point.
It strikes me as more than a little interesting that in all three of my interactions that night, at least in the beginning, my own goings-on were relegated to the backseat in favor of acting in a way more closely fitting what was expected of me. I'm not supposed to impose my shitty night on others, I'm supposed to compose myself a certain way in public, and more importantly, I'm supposed to be me. Mostly aloof, funny if i can manage it, mentally playful, and gently mocking of just about everything I get my eyes on. That's me, and as long as I stay that way, I have a place in society. If I can't keep my shit together, I'm expected to put myself in the corner until I can.
At this point, I'm no longer a weepy-eyed anything, the salt streaks have long-since been washed away, and I'm putting myself out there once again (if somewhat tentatively). I'm doing alright. The thing that's sticking with me is that night, doing my best to save face. That's a term I wasn't familiar with until just recently. Ours is a culture obsessed with Saving Face, of maintaining the outward appearance of normalcy, despite the fact that we might be deeply embarrassed, or in pain, or even overwhelmed with joy. We're obsessed with composing ourselves with some false sense of decorum, as if showing something other than nothing is shameful.
I don't know when this started, but I don't like it. I know I'm not alone in that dislike. Why can't we display our emotions without feeling that we're doing something wrong? I vote that we should be able to. Just putting that out there.