Because I am slightly obsessive and I enjoy thinking Way Too Much, I believed I was pretty self-aware. While I regularly hear things come out of my mouth that I had not really intended to say, and I make myself blush with the silly things I can’t seem to stop myself from doing, I at least know what kind of mood I’m in.
Or so I thought.
Then, a few weeks ago, a friend wandered into the office where I was working across from another colleague.
“I want to know what’s wrong with her,” she said to no one in particular.
“With MG?” I asked absently. MG had been crying most of the morning. (The office is 80 percent women. Someone is always crying.)
“No,” she said firmly.
Something about the way she said it made me look up from my revising. She was giving me an eyebrows-raised look, and so was the other colleague.
That’s when I realized I was cranky. Evidently the entire rest of the world knew, but me? I thought I felt fine.
I had another minor epiphany on Saturday, when I was working the National Fibromyalgia Association booth at the local Fibromyalgia Awareness Day conference event. I knew I was in a weird sort of mood, having stayed up very late, drunk very many margaritas, and stood way too long in shoes too strappy the night before (and it wasn’t even for fun! I was handling registration at a fund-raising event. Sigh). Practically the instant I woke up at 5:03 am, I was on the brink of tears (it isn’t easy being one of the select few who require 11 hours of sleep a night, let me tell you).
But it wasn’t until several hours later, when I’d been standing at the table, greeting conference-goers and answering questions, being driven slowly insane not by the conference-goers themselves, but by the colleagues I usually kinda like, that my eyes were opened.
I wasn’t just tired and cranky. I hate conferences too. (When I shared my epiphany with someone who’s known me a very, very long time, she said in exasperation, “Well, I could have told you that.” Seriously, if everyone understands me better than I understand myself, I wish they’d all just get together and write me an Owner’s Manual.)
Today, I woke up feeling refreshed and fairly energetic. I thought I was in a pretty good mood. (Silly me.)
Then I had to go to a staff meeting.
Everyone’s still feeling very team-y and mellow from the Awareness Day events, so the meeting was breezy and fun. And then the executive director asked if anyone had bought any mood rings at the conference. (Because the NFA’s symbol is the butterfly—rebirth, renewal, etc.—one of the board members bought a bunch of butterfly-bedecked mood rings and donated them for the organization to use as a fundraiser.)
Yes, someone said, lots of people bought mood rings.
“And that was so funny,” I jumped in. “Because they’d walk right up to the sign that says ‘Mood Rings,’ and then they’d say, ‘What are those?'”
I paused while some people chuckled.
“And then”—I was warming to my topic—“they’d say, ‘Well, do they change colors?’While they were watching them change colors on their fingers!”
Okay, I admit it. Even I thought I might be warming to my topic a little too much. But then they all started laughing, and Camelia—She Who Recognizes My Bad Moods Before I Do—started fanning me with her steno pad. Oh, and April asked the general assembly if they agreed that my hair had actually gotten redder as I was speaking.
So fine. Another day, another bout of crankiness. At least I manage to entertain people (sometimes, anyway!) from the hills and valleys of Planet Crank.
*But I guess I’d have to be the only contestant. And even with a mood ring, I'd probably always lose!