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?
5 thoughts on “On Humor…”
Gayle, I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, and am generally moved or at least entertained by your ruminations on family, politics, food, beauty etc. I’ve often wanted to respnd, but have been silenced by a deep sense of shyness at posting something that many people will read; I do not use social media. Anyway, I’m a bit embarrassed to have been brought out of my shell by an overwhelming desire for Cynthia’s contact number. The person who used to do my facials had a brain tumor (hmmm, I bet even .cynthia wouldn’t laugh at that!), and her pricing, time management, skills, and personality have all been affected. I would LOVE to get a facial from Cynthia.
Can you give me her name and number, please.
Barbara (from the writing group you were formerly in, we overlapped several times.)
LOL Barbara!! Thanks for the smile/laugh. I’m not surprised you wrote for this reason. I won’t be surprised if I hear from others. That is why I provided the link… see in the 3rd line, “her own business”… there’s a link with the name of her business, info and her phone number. She has a limited amount of hours she works and has other people who work for her. If you want a facial from Cynthia herself, you might have to book in advance by a bit. 🙂
Actually………… There isn’t a link. Or none that is apparent to me. If you just give me her business name ( no phone number needed), I can get right on it before other people do!
And by the way, your short haircut looks great!
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Got it! The email version of your blog didn’t have the link, but mysteriously there occurred another versio. Thanks!
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Waaaaahhh – I so wish you were here instead of there and well instead of sick. I’m so sorry it didn’t work out this weekend. The good news is that we can choose another weekend to look forward do albeit it will have to be in September or October. Still a beautiful time of year here and a great time for the islands. Cynthia sounds amazing and would love to be on fly on the wall for your laugh sessions. I too am grateful for humor in these bizarre times. I too can see the absurdity in it all, but it takes the Trevor Noahs and Samantha Bees to articulate it and make me laugh and maybe, just maybe think everything is going to be ok and we will get through this and be able to walk away from this president who is turning our universe into a National Enquirer tabloid zoo. I was just listening to some kind of not-so-exciting interview with Katie Couric with someone I don’t know named Khaled (LOL – are you excited?) but I did walk away with the message that we can’t let Trump turn us into a “ball of negativity” and we need to lead with love. I hope you are feeling just a bit better today and that the June gloom remembers that it is July and not June. Much love!
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