Outside the door to the Burger King, Janice wiggled to the music coming from the blaring, crackly stereo of the old grey Ford Fairmont parked in the handicapped spot. The intermittent dance was interrupted by periods of sitting by the worn-down kids play area. At 8:45 in the morning there were no children around, but no children played there at any time, with all the indolent people like her taking up their play area.
Well, that could have been something. It didn't pan out, at least not yet, because I had nowhere to go with it. I'm not sure I had an interest in making those hanging out in front of the BK seem sympathetic, and if I'm mocking them there's little point in kicking them when they're already down.
Of course, it's only from the perspective of those of us with permanent residence and regular meals that hanging out in front of a fast food restaurant, possibly waiting for a drug dealer, seems worthy of scorn; I have to presume that someone approximating dancing by a major street in the morning must be reasonably happy. I'm not saying it is or is not chemically enhanced happiness, but I'm guessing that if asked she would claim to be so; if happiness is not the belief that one is happy, then what is it?
It serves my attempts at happiness to perceive my choices as superior to this woman I've fictionalized as Janice, but I'm not dancing this morning. And from what I observed, I'm a much better dancer than she is. She was not ashamed of her cottage cheese thighs, displaying them by wearing short shorts; clearly she did not suffer from a great many of the stereotypical hang-ups that afflict women in our society. Sure, if it was her car from which the loud music eminated, she was inconsiderate toward those who lived in the buildings near the BK, but I've encountered much worse oblivious behavior, and from people who didn't seem anywhere near as happy.
When I'm frustrated by the concerns of the choices I've made, I can imagine how loitering outside a Burger King on a November morning in an area where it's warm enough to wear shorts with nothing troubling me enough to prevent vague rhythmic movements could an improvement over what I am suffering at the moment. I'm sure waking up sober on a stranger's couch, or on a cold piece of sidewalk, would not seem so good, but I can understand the appeal of relinquishing all responsibilities.
The other night I caught a bit of a stand-up special on Comedy Central featuring comedian Ralphie May. Part of his routine talked about a friend he had growing up who was mentally challenged. Or as he put it, retarded. He mentioned envying the guy because the friend was always happy. He noted the only time the rest of us achieved that level of (ahem) "'Tard Happiness" was for those few seconds of euphoria during a really spectacular orgasm. Not during a regular orgasm, but the kind that leaves one incapable of speech. That's how happy the retarded friend was all the time.
Thought is the enemy of happiness. And I think way too much. But still I must delude myself with beliefs that it's better (approximating happiness) to be a thinking person and fit in with mainstream society, because it's what I've chosen to do.
That, and no one has had the decency to come up behind me and hit me in the head with a blunt object. People claim to care about my happiness, but do they take action to help bring it about?
I've left a note absolving the assailant of any culpability…