This morning, while driving into work, Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” came on the radio. Now, I have no emotional connection to this song, although Radiohead is a great band and this is a great song. Maybe it was something in the plaintive delivery of Thom Yorke, but I found myself starting to cry. And believe me, there is nothing like a 275 lb, 42-year old man driving to work in the rain and tearing up to make you go… huh? I imagine it was just the culmination of an emotionally draining week, or just plain old being tired, but something hit me in just the right spot to start the waterworks flowing for a short time. It was not a sobbing fit, just a gentle eye watering cry.
All my life, I have worn my emotions on my sleeve. While I may have attempted to construct a placid exterior, my emotion would always end up overrunning any obstacles. The benefit was that everyone knew how I felt. The downside was everyone knew how I felt.
As I have aged, I find it more difficult to control when I get emotional. Maybe it’s because I have fewer reasons to worry about outward appearances, not that I have ever been anything less than shameless. I don’t experience fits of rage (strings of imaginative curses aimed at other drivers while driving, notwithstanding) or have a wild temper that runs amok. Usually, the extremes of my emotions manifest themselves in either giddy laughter or crying. I’ll find myself doubled over laughing over something generally less than hilarious just because I need the laugh.
And I think that’s where the crying comes from as well. I cannot control myself when faced with a manipulative, sappy, sentimental sad movie. It never fails that I have to somehow hide my face and the lurching shoulder spasms. For example, both Titanic and Schindler’s List left me a blubbering mess, for different reasons. (The little girl in the red coat… manipulative, but incredibly effective!)
So, do not run screaming into the night should you hear me gently sobbing during a screening of The Lovely Bones, or listening to almost anything by Sarah McLachlan.