I’m trying so hard to pretend I’m happy when I am anything but. In 12 Step they suggest you, act as if all is well because before you know it you’ll be sitting on top of the world, and not to jump off either.
Now that I think about it, it could have been a fortune cookie or a place mat where I read that. In any event, I’m giving it the old ‘I didn’t go to college’ try.
I’m smiling, holding doors, tossing change in coffee cups. I actually threw a quarter into someone’s actual coffee but she forgave me, said it was her fault for not combing her hair. Gotta love a gal with magnanimity and a sense of humor. I’d like to think I possess both though the first remains iffy.
Just now I ran into the smoker across the hall who smelled like he slept at OTB. It’s a pity too because he had on such a nice suit that will probably stink up his entire office. He sneered at me when I gave him a big, fat good morning. Of course I did cover my face when I said it but I had just put on fresh gloss and couldn’t take the chance of smelling like an ashtray. Hey, lips are very susceptible and what if he was sporting a loose ash.
I did wave, acting as if I actually liked him before running into my apartment.
My neighbor upstairs, who once again at midnight due to drinks with the boys thought my apartment was hers, glided downstairs like a black leathered apparition.
“Good morning, and how are you today,” I said, acting as if I was happy to see her.
“Do you have any Excedrin Susannah, I have the worst headache. I must have eaten something.” (or someone – my thoughts aren’t participating as yet in acting as if)
“Just a minute,” I said with a smile, “I believe I do.”
“Thanks,” she said, when I returned taking the entire bottle.
You did notice I said nothing about her waking me up again jamming her key repeatedly into my lock. And I good-naturedly didn’t mention how it scared the hell out of me thinking, omigod, someone is trying to break in, causing me to jump up naked to get a frying pan. (my grandmother swore by them burglar wise) nor did I call her a cow for selfishly absconding with my whole bottle of painkillers.
And do you know why?
I was acting as if, that’s why.
When I ran for the train and my coat got caught in the door and the conductor started to scream at me, I apologized even though it was his fault since he watched me make a run for it. He might have delayed his door closing for the sake of my Burberry raincoat that now has a big grease stain down the back. I stoically smiled at my fellow passengers who too were angry at me for causing unscheduled train havoc inspiring a slight mood swing.
“Dammit lady, I’m gonna be late now cause a you.”
“All Upper East bitches are the same. What’s your hurry bitch – goin to Bloomindales?”
I kept smiling patiently, understanding their concerns remembering to act as if I wasn’t terrified of a quick stabbing.
“What are you smilin at bitch?
“Maybe she had some kinda stroke or somethin.”
When I exited the train looking behind me to make sure I wasn’t followed, I did start to feel better. By golly, a shift had occurred. I was no longer even interested in updating my will in case I did lock myself in that 4 car garage on 5th and 90th. I looked around at all the garbage I saw on Spring Street after someone had emptied the can all along the crosswalk and thought, you know what Susannah, you’re happy.
This act as if business really does work…
well I’ll be.
Then in the midst of all this unexpected euphoria, I stepped in a pile of dog shit that was the width of a sand dune.
On behalf of my Gucci loafer I called up my shrink to see if she had an opening. When she said not till June I acted as if it was perfectly okay to sit on that curb to cry my little heart out, and scrape the shit off my shoe.