Monday, March 8, 2010

Laughter Uncensored

I'd been feeling really sad most of Friday. Nothing specific, just a general blah. When evening came, I drove out to Glendale where I'd be picking up Lyndsay and her friend in a few hours. I craved solitude and distraction, so I headed over to Barnes and Noble, and relished feeling anonymous, even in the crowd.

I stopped at the tables just inside the door and perused the new releases. First, those in fiction. Then, the books about the brain for National Brain Awareness Month (did you know?). I picked one up, This is Your Brain on Music. Did you know that science now believes that to become a virtuoso, you don't need talent, only 10,000 hours of practice? I had to quickly read that chapter. (Maybe someday I'll have 10,000 extra hours and can finally play the piano like I want to!) Then I moved to the nonfiction releases. And one book in particular stood out to me: You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up by Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn. Its subtitle was "A Love Story". I was intrigued after reading the book's jacket. Something about after being married for a few years they realized they just "weren't that into us", and yet they stayed married anyway, in large part because they had a son with disabilities and they needed to work together to care for him. I love romantic, idealistic love stories like the next girl, but I also like more raw, nontraditional tales of marriage because, sadly, I can relate to them. I like to read about how not everyone except me has blissfully perfect unions, and better yet, when they can take those things that nobody ever talks about, and talk about them with honesty and humor. In my funk, I tucked the book under my arm and trudged upstairs to sit in a chair and read.

The only chair available was a chair next to a middle-aged Asian woman who was engrossed in a Harlequin romance novel. I asked if I could sit next to her and she nodded without looking up. (Must have been a good part.) I scooted my chair over just a bit for some courtesy space. Plus, I've been recovering from some bronchial infection for the last three weeks and I cough like a smoker, which can put people off.

You Say Tomato is written in He-said, She-said format, beginning at the first time the two of them met. In the very first scene I laughed out loud. Not many things make me laugh out loud. Some make me smile, or maybe chuckle, but reading this book gave me much-needed therapy in laughter. Now, I wouldn't say that I heartily recommend the book because it is raw, rude, and irreverent. I admit that I do have an irreverent side. I save it for when I'm with Amber, because she never thinks less of me, and we have some good belly-laughs, but I keep it reined in when I'm with my children, who frankly don't need any encouragement. I cringed at some of the honest recollections of past sexual exploits, but the dealings between the two of them are so funny to me because I understand what it's like to be married to someone so completely different from me. I understand the not-so-perfect marriage. And I loved that not only were they honest about how they are each perceiving things, I love that they did the project together! I couldn't stop laughing, on practically every page, and with every fit of laughter came a fit of coughing that wasn't so fun, and impeded my joy just a bit. When Lyndsay and her friend came to meet me, they found me sitting next to the Asian woman, who was still engrossed in her Harlequin romance, laughing and coughing. Which made them start to laugh.

"Have you just been sitting here laughing by yourself?"


"Why don't you just buy the book, Mom?" Lyns asked.

"I can't, I said. There's too much bad language and it's terribly inappropriate, but it's just so funny!"

So they stood there while I finished the chapter, and wiped tears from my eyes. That felt good.

Then, to top it off, we stopped in Tiffany because I have a bracelet given to me by my sister that is just a touch too big and makes me worry that it will fall off whenever I wear it, so I wanted to have it adjusted. As we walked in, the most beautiful man ever--seriously, ever--approached us and asked how he could help. I apologized for being underdressed for Tiffany, and he smiled. I explained the situation, showed him the bracelet, and stared into his eyes. Crazy beautiful eyes. And just a scruff of facial hair, immaculately groomed, and perfect bone structure, and probably gay--but what a delight to be looked at by him, my goodness. Turns out, that particular Tiffany didn't have a customer service department, so no luck. Except that we walked out of there and I said to the girls, "Was that not the most beautiful man you've ever seen?" And they completely agreed.

I walked back to the car with just a bit of a bounce in my step. And now? I can't stop thinking about that book! I'm dying to read the rest! A little irreverent humor does my heart good sometimes.

Don't think less of me.


Luisa Perkins said...

Darling, every time I read your posts, I think MORE of you. Glad you got some free therapy.

dcr said...

sounds like a perfectly WONDERFUL time! you should do it more often.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I heartily agree with Luisa, and not only because I have quite the wickedly intense irreverent side myself. One I don't get to indulge in often because I'm the wife of the branch president AND the local eye doctor in these here parts and I have to be "proper" to a certain extent.

No fair, I say.

Abby said...

I hear ya, Jenna. Only my friends (and like..Jonah) know the real me. The whatever I want me. It's hard to be myself around my siblings, I've noticed..because I ya know..want you guys to like me. I censor myself A LOT. It's just terrible. But I seem to not be alone on I suppose it's normal to be one person to your family and the total opposite around your close friends :)

BTW, I totally looked that book up on Amazon and read the first 2 chapters or so..but then it starts skipping around so much that I may need to just buy it because I giggled at some of what I've already read. It's so funny how two people go through the same thing but see it totally differently! :)

isshou ni said...

so totally true. Sometimes you just need to laugh, and sometimes it is the irreverent that does it!

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Braden Bell said...

I'm glad you got to laugh out loud until you cried. That feels so good.

Braden Bell said...

P.S. There is a blog that almost always makes me laugh out loud--it's my brothers, so it may not be funny unless you grew up in our house. But if you are interested it's

Sarah said...

Less? No way! I think more of you now!! Glad you got to get a good (obviously much needed!) laugh in!

Misty said...

I LOVE Luisa's comment. that's almost exactly what I was going to say...