authenticity · fun · laughter · life · self-love · self-support · trying

Chief Happiness Officer

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Not kidding. This is actually a job. In Brooklyn. “Community
Manager and Chief Happiness Officer.” God, I love this generation. For all its
foibles and failings and impending earth-dying doom, I don’t know if there was
ever a time in history (maybe the 60s) where this could be listed in
semi-earnest.
Yesterday as I was driving home from my chiro in SF, I had
my windows down. It was hot, but not too hot, and it was curious to see who had
their car hermetically sealed with A/C and who enjoyed the breeze. At first, of
course, my elbow is resting on the window ledge, half committed to experiencing
the flow of air. Then, as we begin to move faster onto the Bay bridge, I place
my palm into the air, and let the wind carry it, make it dance, still tethered to the anchor of my resting elbow.
Finally, I decide or am pulled to go for it: My arm floats
up off the ledge, we’re whizzing over the bridge now, and my arm, elbow, hand
are carried up into the wind.
My arm pumps into the air, high up, almost straight up. People can see me, I see
them driving past looking back at me, smiling, and I’m smiling. In fact by the
time I get over the bridge, I’m laughing gleefully and giddily. This is so FUN! I see people in cars ahead and behind me tentatively
reach their hand out the window too, still elbow-anchored, but it’s a start.
I am my own Chief Happiness Officer, and I’m spreading it
one car at a time. It was brilliant. To be unself-conscious, to let myself be
silly, be seen, to laugh at myself, to experience the world. The air.
My belly full of laughter at myself and the sensation and
playfulness, thoughts pop in as I exit the highway past a Kaiser
building. It wasn’t long ago that I was hermetically sealed myself in one of
those buildings. Absent of fresh air, unable to touch this freedom.
It’s why it’s sometimes easier for me to take risks like
this, to take the risk of having fun, for its own sake, with no stakes except
silencing my internal critic. I did it because I can, because I saw a little girl earlier in the day
hanging her whole head out the back window on the slow Berkeley streets, and
she looked happy.
I looked happy then, too, in the grins and gawks of passing cars, my hand only beginning to chill as I pull to the stoplight toward home. I forget what silliness feels like, what glee
is, how freeing it all is — and how simple. I forget what it’s like to laugh infectiously and
appreciatively at my own antics. Until I see you hanging your arm out a window, and I remember.

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