Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Aggressively happy

writing to a dear friend the other night prompted me to tell the story of riding home from the gym the other day, on my excellent bicycle, when i caught myself thinking: so this is happy. i panicked for a second -- maybe it's manic? -- but, no, i know what manic is and this was just happy. happy. so strange.

i was so happy, in fact, that when i saw a miserable-looking couple walking toward me pushing a baby carriage, i gave them a big smile and said, "look at the hawk, cruising over victoria park." (actually, i yelled it, since i had my ipod on.) the woman in particular was nonplussed: she continued to look on the brink of infanticide. the man in the couple gazed half-heartedly about him, and i rode on, thinking what a shame.

afterwards i was thinking about this, and it made me realize that happiness has an aggression to it that you'd never imagine from, say, reading tolstoy. happiness is such a bitch of a high that you're not really happy, not high enough, until everybody else is happy too. it's like outdoorsiness. if you've ever curled up with a good book on a chill winter day only to be interrupted by a hikingrunningskiingskating keener, you know the feeling. rebecca solnit tells a story about the sierra club taking inner city new yorkers out to tuolomne's bracing fresh air. they were completely baffled by it. "you want us to what? walk? up the mountain? but why? why on earth would a person do that?"

apparently, not everybody wants to get high.

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