Turning on the Happy Switch
by Turtle Jones
Tonight is pretty simple. We were tossing ideas around and one of us said something about smiling. Happiness. What makes you happy. Maybe it's a whole bunch of things. Maybe it's thinking about one moment in your life when you found happiness. We all find it in different ways, in different places. So we took this topic and wrote. And then when we were done, we showed each other what we had. That's how we work it. Neither of us knows what the other is writing til we are done.
Well, tonight we kind of went in really different directions. It happens. We had an idea and sometimes we will sit down to write going off our idea and it just turns into something else. And we end up with two really different directions. Either way, you still get a little turtle, a little michele. But a different variety of each. We just had different paths to happiness tonight. But at least we both got there.
So tonight's topic is finding happiness. Wherever you may. Happy Places.
I have this problem with focusing on things that make me sad or angry or agitated or anxious. Not nearly enough time thinking about the things that make me happy. I’m glad Turtle suggested this topic tonight because, well, I’m kind of hardcore PMSing right now. So it’s kind of easy to sit here and think about the things that make me growl or cry rather than the opposite. I'm gonna find my happy place. Or places.
Babies. Babies that aren’t mine, especially. Little kids, too. That aren’t mine. When my five year old nephew uses a phrase like “we should contact him” or when he really, really thinks he can turn into Optimus Prime if he tries hard enough.
Clouds. Autumn trees. The sun setting on the Atlantic Ocean. A fresh mark in the front yard where a snow angel was just made. The first flower peeking up in spring. Kittens with things on their heads.
Ok, got the usual stuff out of the way. Babies and nature. Who doesn’t smile at those?
A forgotten song on the radio. One that reminds me of being a kid. Looking at pictures of my childhood. Home movies. The last day of school. The first day of school. The whole week before Christmas. Sitting in the living room late at night on Christmas Eve by myself, all the lights off except for the tree lights. Just staring at the colors and the presents and drinking hot chocolate and thinking that sometimes life feels really comfortable. The first snow, before I even think about driving in it or shoveling it and before a single tire track has disturbed it.
Good music. A book with a satisfying ending. A funny movie. Driving on a spring day with the windows down and Thunderkiss ‘65 blasting from the stereo. Weaving my way out of a traffic jam and looking in the rear view mirror at the line of cars behind me as I hit the gas pedal. The New York State Thruway in the fall. Autumn air. Pumpkin picking. Halloween.
Comic books. Neil Gaiman books. Video games. Taking out the SNES and kicking it old school. My Commodore 64. My giant stuffed turtle that my daughter gave me because she knew it would make me smile. Listening to my son play the guitar. Watching my daughter in the school play. Watching Sesame Street clips on youtube. Hearing one of those tunes from the Baby Songs videos and remembering when my kids were so far away from being teenagers. The smell of fresh ground coffee, Bucky Dent. Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
When my cell phone rings in the middle of the night and it’s lit up with Turtle’s name. A Turtle making his way to New York. A birthday that’s going to kick all ass. Love. Real love. Being loved. Having things to look forward to. Cranberry cake. -M
I could make a list, but I won't. I am just like that. Sometimes some things don't need a list. They don't want a list. They demand a story. An explanation to why it makes you smile. What was the exact moment that you were happy. I could get sappy and say the moment I met woodpecker from mars but I think you guys already know how much she makes me smile. So I will go back to another story that I think about when I am down.
A few years ago, I was really down. Everything in my life had collapsed. I really had nothing. I had quit everything and left LA to come back to my stomping ground. I just stayed on the couch for about a week and didn't want to talk to anyone. I just stared at the TV and ignored phone calls and just basically wished I would die everyday. There was no life left for me. Nothing on this planet I really wanted or needed. I picked a night to go to a park and to try and fade away. Just sit on a park bench with my dog and just hope not to wake up. Forgotten about. Dangerous town. No light. Middle of the night. Sleeping on the top of a park table. Waiting to not wake up. This will come. I know it. My dog fell asleep next to me as I stared at the stars and wondered why they were so ugly. Why did I hate them so much? I don't know. All I knew is that I did. I hated those little lights and the clear sky. I hated the trees. I hated the smell of the clean air.
I liked my dog thou.
But anyways, I finally fell asleep. Waiting for the death of all cowards to take me. I left my car keys in the car so if anyone wanted it, they could have it after I was gone. Hard, cold table and a sleeping dog next to me.
But, something went wrong.
I woke up in the morning. Awwww crap. I thought this was it. Dammit. I lit a smoke and wandered around. The dog was gone and my life was gone. I flicked the cigarette and put another one in my mouth. Looked around for the doggie. I heard sounds from around the pond that sounded like her. Meh. She's around. She will find me. I have no issues here.
Then all of a sudden ten kids came running out of the forest playing with my dog. The sounds of them laughing as they played with this dog was incredible. This dog was way bigger then all of them. Just having fun and laughing while my dog just ran around them. Balls were being tossed and kids were having fun. They would toss the ball in the pond and the dog would dive in after it. They were having the time of their lives in the exact spot I was trying to die the night before. A smile cracked on my face as I looked on. My dog didn't care about me anymore. She just wanted to have fun.
That's when it hit me.
I was happy.
I thought back to the innocence of childhood. How much fun you could have by just running around with a dog. Why doing something like tossing a ball to a dog could make you smile. Something so easy as just having your parents take you to the park. Playing in the grass with your friends and not having to worry about what we all have to worry about. The innocence and the complete wonder of a new world to explore. There were things out there for the kids. But not now. Now was all about fun.
All the while someone who wanted to die eight hours ago looked on.
My attitude changed as I just sat there and looked.
Fuck this shit.
I need to get back to simple things in my life.
The dog kept running and the kids kept laughing.
A smile hit my face as a teardrop fell to the ground.
I was finally happy. - T
SNFU - The Happy Switch