My friend Cynthia got her degree in psychology, worked in a tech company for awhile I think, then several years ago started her own business doing facials. I found her on Yelp! when for some reason I decided I needed one. I had had 3 or 4 in my life up ’til that point but they were never quite what I hoped for. Cynthia got rave reviews so I decided to give it one more try. Long story short, Cynthia is the best. There is kindness in her touch, and skill, oh my god, yes! Skill! Her studio is small like a cocoon —I didn’t even know I needed some cocoon time — and perfectly calm, clean, and with a zen aesthetic. I’ve gone back every month, for years.
Cynthia with her younger child, Evan Emilia.
The funny thing about Cynthia is that the minute I come in and she asks how I am and I tell her my latest dysfunctional family story, or loneliness story, or frustration with this or that or Trump or whatever story, she starts cracking up, as if I am one super comedienne. It’s not my conscious intention to be funny, but when Cynthia laughs, I don’t feel laughed at; instead I feel deeply understood. This encourages me, so I continue. Cynthia shakes her head and moans a little with empathy, still laughing. I start cracking up too. Can you believe this fucking shit? I say. She can’t, and I can’t, and we both crack up some more.
We’re both about to roll on the floor, and I’m thinking we should develop a two woman stand up comedy act, where we tell our saddest real life stories and crack each other up, and then the whole audience joins in, laughing through their tears. I mention it to her, but she’s got a business to run, a husband, and two small and extremely active children. The awesome facial that eventually happens (after a loooong check in) is the icing on the cake, but the fact that she gets me, that she finds me hilarious and that nothing about my sad story will destroy me is totally the cake.
Laughter is SO good for us, whether LOL or the smile and half grunt of a too little practiced LOL, it works as a reset button, a release of pent-up energy, like tectonically shifting plates or smoking volcanoes are best released regularly rather than waiting for the big one.
I wouldn’t mind being one of those people with a raucous, bawdy, and insuppressible laugh, but alas, I’m not that girl. I tend to be serious and pre-occupied with the widespread and seemingly never-ending disasters innocent people suffer — war, famine, and violence of one kind or another. My inner child, as well as my adult, screams out (mostly silently but sometimes aloud on Facebook) at the gross injustices in the world. I work hard at finding and appreciating beauty and life’s gifts to balance this melancholic nature of mine.
Humor is something I don’t think about so much, though increasingly I see its importance. Watching Seth Myers or Trevor Noah before bed offers a different perspective, a balancing of the tears of frustration and the agita of rage, with laughter at the absurdity of our human situation. There is also the solace of not feeling alone. I thank god, or goddess, or the goodness in our species for the millions of my fellow humans who feel as grateful as I do for these truth-tellers, who understand and value the nexus of humor and pain in this life.
This has been a tough week. Trump has been behaving like a bigger POS than usual. (they should just take the T and the U out of the POTUS acronym to make it more accurate). The NRA came out with a way-worse-than-ever video that is terribly disturbing. Trevor Noah must be on vacation, which isn’t good timing for me. I miss him so much. I hope he doesn’t decide to move to another country where black men are treated with the respect everyone deserves.
This clip of Trevor’s work is even more poignant than usual. That he can even find anything to laugh about speaks to his own big-heartedness and brilliant sense of humor.
Part of my bad week is that I got sick a few days ago, the night before I was to leave on my much planned for and desired, no, desperately needed road trip to southern California where I was going to find sun and fun and some sisterly love. I’d fixed my snacks, got my audio books from the library, had my tires, oil and water checked, filled my gas tank, and packed my bags. Then whoosh. splat. Sick. Home alone. Life is suck-y like this sometimes. Do you know what I mean? I’m grateful to Seth Myers and Samantha Bee for not being on vacation this week.
For me, Seth always pretty much nails it. Sadly, here too.
Samantha Bee is brilliantly funny here and Elizabeth Warren her usual great self.
I’m glad I finally sat down to write. I’ve been totally glum, in a vortex of FB posts (mostly about the Trump nightmare), instagram, and The Crown on Netflix. Not exactly the funniest triumvirate of activities. It’s summer in San Francisco, a season the City gets very dark and cold indeed. Can I please hear a headshake and a laugh? It would help. It would really help. Cynthia? Anyone?