Tag Archives: crying in public

What’s Wrong With Me (Thumbs Up Edition)

The silliest thing happened earlier today.  I found myself in Manhattan (SoHo to be exact), and all out of sorts.  I was tired.  I was sweaty.  I had just spent nearly two hours in a waiting room only to be told I needed to reschedule the appointment.  I also sort of suspected my pink eye was coming back.  These factors paired with the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing with life–I began to cry on the sidewalk.  Or, maybe more like bawl.

I stood against a building, out of the way of pedestrians.  I watched the traffic pass on Bleecker Street.  I wiped tears off of my cheeks and wondered if anyone would stop and inquire.  For a few moments no one did.  I wasn’t all that surprised.  I don’t think I would’ve stopped and asked me what my deal was.  We’re a solitary, earbud wearing bunch these days.  But then, someone did stop: A middle-aged Asian woman who didn’t speak English.  She got really close to my red, swollen face and said the same word over and over again.  Turned out she wasn’t concerned about me at all.  She was just trying to get directions to the M22 bus.  Which is one of the few New York buses that I have had the chance to ride.  But even so, I couldn’t help her, so she walked off.

After that encounter I really lost it.  I was still crying, only now I was laughing, too.  Basically–I was hysterical.  But I was also pretty close to pulling myself together and carrying on with my day.  Before I had really finished that task, though, another person took the time to acknowledge me.  This time the person spoke English.  He pushed a stroller, wore a hat, and asked, “Are you okay?”  He didn’t slow, but at the same time, he seemed sincere.  And also, he seemed to be Jim Gaffigan. 


I’m fairly certain it was him.  It’s really too fitting for it not to have been.  He is, after all, the stand-up comedian behind the album “King Baby”.  So that’s cool.  Except I totally blew it.  How can a crying, defeated woman possibly make things more embarrassing for herself?  By telling Jim Gaffigan, “I’m good,” and emphasizing that by giving him…a thumbs up. 

Yeah.  As soon as my thumb did it I was like, really?  Why did you just do that?  Thumbs up are awkward even when you don’t have snot running down your face.  It’s a terrible, outdated gesture that no one should make.  If I’d made it to the middle-aged Asian woman it would have (maybe) been acceptable.  But not to Jim Gaffigan.  I swear: he wasn’t embarrassed by my crying–it was the thumbs up that convinced him I was a lost cause.