Friday, June 14, 2013

Ain't she sweet? Well...?!!

Sweetness is overrated. 

As a personality trait, I mean.   

Now, sweetness on the taste buds - in Godiva chocolates or Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia or Anjou pears or birthday cupcakes - that sweetness is so completely awesome.   

But being a sweet person, well, I’m dubious of its value. 

And yes, I’m probably saying that because I’m not all that sweet.  Except evidently I’m sweet on the outside.  I seem to have a well-developed sweet persona.  I guess I must do something sugary on occasion, because people frequently tell me I’m sweet. 

Yes.  They do.   

So, I appreciate that.  But it’s unexpected.  It’s even uncomfortable.  Because if they only knew what a crank I am on the inside!  Truly.  

When someone says into my right ear, “Oh!  Carolyn!  You’re so sweet!”  In my left ear I hear the counterpoint from a little imp saying, “You?  Sweet?  I’m not so sure about that!” 

Maybe it’s an internal governor, keeping my unruly ego in check, making sure I don’t believe my own reviews.  Always room for improvement, you know.                                             

 At least I’m a happy crank.   

But how is that even possible?   

I am an extremely happy person.  I’m grateful every day for so many things:  My husband, my son (yes, we let him live), my lovely little town, birds, cats…you get it.  I love all that stuff.  It brings me joy every day. 

But, I’m pretty sure I don’t deserve it all.  How can any one person deserve so much?  

You can’t.  Or, at least, how can you?  Unless you’re really sweet.  Which I don’t think I am.  I have a bunch of cranky thoughts for such a happy, grateful person.  

When I bring this up to other women (because men are blissfully unconcerned about whether or not they’re truly sweet or only seem sweet) most of them say, “Oh, me too.  I’m crabby on the inside too.  I think lots o’ crabby thoughts.” 

What’s up with that?  

Are we the Gender of Pretenders? 

Naw.  I don’t think so.  Men are being sweet too.  For example, most of them have learned sweet responses to the questions we ask that they’d best not answer truthfully:  “No Honey!  You don’t look fat!  You look great in that leotard.”   

Sweet is safe. 

It’s polite society after all.  Maintaining civilization.  If we don’t keep the snarky stuff to ourselves as we go about our business there’d be an ugly scene in the produce aisle almost every day.  

I just have to point out that there is such a thing as being too sweet, not that I’m in danger of it.   

When you’re too sweet, your brain goes into a diabetic coma.  Really, come on!  Wake up, Sweetie!  State your preference!  Form an opinion.  Decide something.  (So says my inner crab.) 

I do get it, though.  Life without sweetness would be one big blood pressure-y freeway.  You know, cutting people off, giving them the finger, blasting horns and cursing.  For some reason, the freeway’s where we just don’t care how sourly we behave.   

Maybe it’s because the freeway’s the one place where sweetness is so blatantly punished.  Go ahead.  Test the theory.  Be sweet on the freeway.  Let the other guy in.  Twelve more guys force their way in too, laughing maniacally as they go.  “Sucker!” 

Maybe we let the crab out on the road because we keep a clamp on it at home! 

I read once that the secret to a happy marriage is leaving three or four things a day unsaid.  Isn’t that the truth!?!  If I chronicled every one of my crabby observations, well, it definitely would not be sweet.   

And you know what?  Those few things just aren’t that important, are they?  Honestly, I have quit counting the number of times I didn’t say, “Again with squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle?  Can’t you see the wisdom and symmetry of rolling it up from the end like ME!?!”  

Instead, I’ve learned to love that mangled cylinder of goo.  All because I kept my mouth shut and made nice.  It’s the difference between being mad all the time or shaking my head with a fond chuckle. 

Hey…  Maybe all those people are right about me!  You can just call me Sweetie Pie!