Thursday, March 18, 2010

Don't tell me to calm down


As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a naturally exuberant person. When I get excited, I get EXCITED. Twice in grad school when good friends of mine got great jobs, I started shrieking and jumping up and down with them in public, making everyone around us turn and stare, and you know, those memories make me smile. When I talk about something that I care about a lot, whether it's politics, or the most recent episode of Project Runway, or how ugly these shoes are, I get animated. So please, do not tell me to calm down.

What is the fun of life if you are all muted and low key about everything? Why do people love Gus Johnson's sports calls so much? Because he doesn't try to play it cool and pretend that he's not thrilled, he lets it all out. What's more enjoyable: telling a friend that you're pregnant, and having her give you a big yay and a hug, or having her say "Oh, isn't that nice?" ? I think that you know the answer to that. If you're having an intense discussion about politics or reality TV or Brett Favre, it is fine to punctuate your statements with a slightly raised voice, as long as you aren't actually yelling or calling someone a fascist. Telling me to calm down just implies that I'm getting excited about nothing, and that's just condescending and a buzz kill.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not that person who goes around shouting in a library, or even in a Starbucks. Attention whores irritate me as much as anyone else, and I glare daggers at those people carrying on loud cell phone conversations on public transportation. See, I know that my voice is naturally too loud for any conversations like that other than "I'll be there in five minutes, okay bye!" Isn't that why texting was invented? And if I ever am disturbing anyone in a place where quiet should reign, I am happy to leave or quiet down.

But if I am laughing really hard at a comedy show, or chattering delightedly in a park, or yelling "RUN, RUN, RUN" at a sporting event (or, to be fair, at my television while a sporting event is on), there is no reason for me to calm down. Dancing when you make a mid field tackle is annoying, but you know what? Dancing when you score a touchdown is just fine. Sure, sometimes it's good to act like you've been there before, but it's also fun to show that it matters to you that you got there in the first place. If I want to be excited, if I want to be pissed, if I want to cry from laughter, then I will. If someone thinks that I'm making a big deal out of nothing, then they can go on and think that. But don't ruin the moment for me, and make yourself sound like a superior ass, and tell me to calm down.

So the next time that your friend is ranting about college hockey, or the Supreme Court's campaign finance decision, or last night's America's Next Top Model, and you want to tell them to calm down, just stop, think about the last time you got enthused about something and how fun it was, and don't do it.

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