One minute, you’re walking along through life, trying to figure out what it is you’re going to do for dinner — maybe you’ll be really ambitious and buy a cookbook, or maybe just order Chinese food online because that other thing sounds like a lot of work.
Or you’re just sitting in a coffee shop, minding your own business, playing your favorite game. My personal favorite game is called, “Let’s Lie to Everybody!” and the rules are very simple. When someone asks you what you’re doing with your life, you say, “I’m working on a screenplay!” It’s a lie. You aren’t.
Or maybe you’re in the shower, thinking about how great it is that your ingrown toenail has sorted itself out, and then suddenly your boyfriend breaks up with you. While you’re in the shower.
Oh my, wait, that would never happen, would it? That’s something that only happens in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, you say to yourself as your boyfriend breaks up with you while you’re in the shower.
‘I was gonna order Chinese food,’ you say in a haze after your boyfriend breaks up with you while you’re in the shower. Then your boyfriend starts to pack his duffel bag. He starts to leave with all of his worn-out t-shirts that you really love sleeping in, and you’re just not ready to part with those t-shirts, man. You’re just not ready. So you try bargaining with him. ‘Chinese food! I’ll pay! Totally on me!’ But he doesn’t want to do that because he thinks that eating dinner together after breaking up would be inappropriate. So you try to cry, but you were just in the shower so all the tears blend in with the water and he just isn’t buying it. So you start threatening him. ‘If you leave now, I will make sure the Chinese food place knows that you broke up with me while I was in the shower and they won’t ever serve you again!’ And then he and the shirts are gone.
Your peppy chickfriends tell you that this is a great thing, really. Now you can focus on yourself. But you have zero desire to focus on yourself. No part of you is thinking, ‘Yay, I’m single! Now I can paint my nails whimsical colors and eat cake without being judged!’ You’re very worried about how this all will affect your cat, so you focus on that for a while, but then you remember she’s a cat and doesn’t care. You begin walking under construction sites on purpose, fingers crossed that something will fall. You try to go to the gym, but suddenly you realize how depressing your entire iPod is. You’d think you have clinical depression if you didn’t already know that you have clinical depression.
One afternoon you go and see Jack the Giant Slayer by yourself, then start crying uncontrollably at the movie trailer for The Host. You cry even harder at the Man of Steel extended trailer. You walk out of your apartment on St. Patrick’s Day and it smells like beer, so you cry. You wonder, briefly, if vegans can drink alcohol, and then remember that you don’t care. You begin to feel like maybe Diane Keaton is your spirit animal, so you buy a bowler hat. You wear it once and take it back. You start watching the ‘It Gets Better Campaign’ videos and pretending that they were made specifically for you and not at-risk gay teens. You stop showering. The shower is where the bad things happen.
Then, a few weeks later, you go out to a bar. You sit there and drink by yourself, and you feel a little bit liberated and powerful. You’re not wearing a turtleneck for once, so you think maybe your alluring collarbones will attract an off-duty falafel truck owner or — fingers crossed! — an intramural sports star. A guy buys you a drink — a cute guy, wow. He doesn’t mention your collarbones — strike one — but he’s funny and his drink doesn’t have any fruit on the rim, so he might even be straight. And then he tells you that his name is Molar and he makes toys for a living. You sprint home and decide to never drink alone (in public) again.
There is, perhaps, a lesson to be learned from every break up. So you decide to go to a palm reader and see if she knows what that lesson is. She tells you that you’ll travel Europe and find love there, so you pull up your bank account statement on your phone and wave it in her face asking, “EUROPE? REALLY? EUROPE? REALLY?” You ask her if there are any nearby construction sites. She doesn’t know.
And then one day, you’re walking along through life, trying to figure out what it is you’re going to do for dinner — and there’s your ex walking down the street right toward you. He gets within ten feet of you and you black out entirely, of course. But you don’t melt into a puddle of depressed ooey gooey semi-matter, or turn around and run away. You just do the unthinkable and talk to your ex for a cordial thirty seconds, then you each go your separate ways. Maybe you cry afterward. Maybe you don’t. Either way, you buy a whimsically colored bottle of nail polish and throw it out the window later.