Monday, October 27, 2008

Diary Entry: David Sedaris, Blond's Strangled Laugh, Happy/Unhappy Endings

I've just gotten back from seeing David Sedaris live at the War Memorial Theatre here in San Francisco. This theatre houses the San Francisco Opera and Ballet. I've been there exactly twice before. The seats in the Balcony Circle are so steep I thought I was going to get a nosebleed and then take a header over red velvet cushions and theatre seats dressed in fake gold metal. I went with a friend of mine who loves theatre and so do I. This is our fifth outing together.

David says he keeps a diary and uses it to get material for his stories. I've read in interviews before that he's been keeping a diary for decades. I figure it can't hurt to write a diary entry down sometimes since things catch my attention all the time. Might as well write them here.

There was a group of five women sitting next to us to my left. While we laughed and laughed at David's stories they just sat there. I looked below us and the people there where cracking up too. People above us and to our right were laughing, loudly. Everywhere there was a sea of laughter except from these five women. I laughed so hard my lower right side was hurting. I laughed at a couple of offensive things David said. My throat hurts from laughing so hard. The blond woman sitting immediately to my left kept leaning forward and back. I could tell she was into it, but her friends just sat there. A couple of times she gave a strangled little laugh that would never qualify as a giggle to anyone's ears. I couldn't help wondering what was going on there. Did they just not "get" it? Were they having a bad time? Was there some creepy kind of peer pressure going on with the five that if one of them, the Alpha Bitch, doesn't find things funny the others can't laugh either? At first I felt sorry for them but then I got annoyed because I realized that these humorless women probably have active dating lives or even serious relationships when I have nothing. Let them sit there, stony-faced, while the rest of us merrily carry on.

I've been reading some very helpful online books by writer Holly Lisle about writing. She referred to "Basic Plots in Literature" at the Internet Public Library. I've heard about such ideas before but the two that caught my eye were the definitions for "Happy Ending" that is, the main character makes a sacrifice (a decision that seems logically wrong) for the sake of another. The definition of an "Unhappy Ending" is the main character does what seems logically right and fails to make the needed sacrifice.

This has me thinking. In real life we tend to go with what seems to be logically right so things go smoothly and so we preserve our situation. Needed sacrifices only take place during upheaval or when we're trying to break a habit or forge a new identity. Sometimes you make a needed sacrifice when you choose not to rock the boat such as at work when what you really want to do is punch someone's lights out for behaving like an idiot, but instead you choose to acquiescence and be "professional."

I can see how this works with my current crush. I'm experiencing an Unhappy Ending right now because I doing what logically seems right. For example, I'm not telling him I'm madly in love with him even though I know he likes me, or better yet throwing myself into his arms and shoving my tongue down his throat because he has a girlfriend, because if he really likes me he'll make the move, because, because. Taking that chance of throwing myself into his arms might be the sacrifice that's needed.

Then again it could be just one more incredibly stupid thing I can finally say "No, I'm not going to do it this time! I'm not going make a complete ass out of myself, again!" I say that to myself, but what I'm really afraid of is he will merely reject me even though he likes me. He'll tell me he feels the same, but he can't do anything about now or ever for that matter. I suspect this is the reason I'm holding back.

David told a great story about how he decided not to stay with an adorable man who lived in Italy while he was traveling there years ago before he got together with his longtime partner, Hugh. He said what it all came down to was cowardice. The only reason I'm not telling this guy how I feel is because of cowardice. I don't really care that he has a girlfriend. These things complicate matters in a very real way and I'd rather keep everything on the up and up, but they don't matter for horse shit, truth be told. My instincts tell me to take that chance, but I don't trust my instincts anymore so I do nothing for now.

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