Monday, January 19, 2009

React

I had dinner with a law school friend I had not seen in a long time tonight. She had been awfully insistent on us getting together soon, which should have been a warning, because no one ever wants to hang out with me that badly.

And I got it as soon as she pulled out the engagement ring. Customly designed by her Ecuadorian architect hubby to be. She's glowing. I'm delighted for her, I really am - so REACT already, Erin. REACT!

I thank god for the peeps in my life who have broken the news through pretty cards and facebook relationship status changes, but really dealing with these events in real time leaves me frozen with a confusing panoply of emotions which aren't coming across as the happiness I want them to be.

I want to friggin' maypole her with happiness. They sound gross, but what I mean is when all the little girls dance around a maypole with flowers in their hair and they're all skippy and happy. I want to skydive her into flowerpetals of my support. I want to produce large squadrons of golden kittens to express the warmth and loyalty of my affections as she goes through this ... awesome time.

No idea why all of that is necessary. I mean, she has the ring, right?

Instead I am left with a strange numbness. I follow through - I hug, I coo at the ring, I get all the details - although sometimes in a manner more resembling a brutal journalist than a dear friend. But it's not quite what I'm aiming for in my new baby/marriage/engagement reaction. I do much better with funerals. Really. There's not a lot of ways to go wrong with "I'm sorry for your loss." And usually you are, right?

Maybe because it was my second law school friend to have announced the same news to me in 24 hours.

So, happy for you really. Mean it. Really, really, really.

On a lighter note, I have long been torturing my ex-boyfriend/law school buddy with the fact that my voicemail still says that I am in Southeast Asia for the month of August and will be back on this date in September and please call my family if there is something urgent. Of course I know it's January. This really only seems to bother him. Well, and once someone at my job, but everything bothers her.

The fun part is now I figured out how to set it so that only Ez gets that message. And it's because I love to hear him always start out my messages by finding a way to mock my forgetfulness every single time. It makes me smile. Even more than engagements. Or funerals, for that matter.

8 comments:

Anna Russell said...

Great post, I could really relate to this.
I can never figure out what the appropriate amount of time that has to pass is when expressing happiness for someone before you can change the subject.
At what point is it cool to start talking about the really gorgeous new shoes you just got without sounding like you don't care about their news?

Your answerphone message really made me laugh.

Hugs
Anna xxx

Rachel Tamed said...

I prefer funerals to weddings 10 to 1. Sad drunk people are just so much more realistic than a bunch of jackasses in suits celebrating an impending divorce.

Glad you are getting some feeling back!

Some Girl said...

I've done so much family law that by this point, I'm not so big on marriage (aka The Big Liability). The same girl told me about hers, and I congratulated her (b/c I really am happy for her - yay! She deserves nothing but happiness), and then promptly tried to convince her to get a pre-nup.

Who's the other person from law school? Anyone I'd know?

Nora said...

Heh; I'm psyched for her too, but I know what you mean. She told me over a month ago, but I haven't seen the ring. . . My reaction is never sufficiently effusive over the rings.

Who's the other one who just got engaged?

Star Kicker said...

I know. I give it about 5 minutes and then start talking about how annoying the tops to prescription bottles can be when you really need to get a valium.

And at weddings I'm normally stoned on the Valium so I don't remember them anyway.

For my schoolmates, the second was a certain Ms. Vanessa and Mr. Michael who we all know and love. And are happy for. Obviously.

Medusa said...

I have the same problem. However, I suck at feigning sympathy at funerals, which to me is the epitome of awkwardness. Not that I am unsympathetic, I just can't show emotion well. That's why I don't do Botox. I don't need anything else messing up my reactions.

Kurt said...

I usually fake a seizure when I get in situations like this. Solves the problem of reacting correctly AND there's a chance someone will stick a wallet in your mouth. Win/win.

Nora said...

Heh, I thought Vanessa and Mike were already engaged. Go figure! Who's the third then?