Friday, October 05, 2012

That... Something Moment

So you're in your early twenties - well, you could be in your late twenties or late teens or even early thirties, but for the sake of argument here we're going to go with early twenties - and you're hanging out in a public place with your relatively similar age group friends (let's assume you have friends) and the conversation somehow, invariably, inexplicably, inevitably, comes around to relationships; specifically those of the social kind; and even more explicitly those of the interpersonal, bipartisan, non-platonic kind.

And, theoretically, these friend are relative strangers, a phrase which, in certain contexts, is an oxymoron: they are people you know and presumably have a friendship with; they are certainly not mere acquaintances. And as such, there is still much about these friends you do not know about, so regarding prior knowledge of such relationships, all bets are off. And as the conversation swings around like an out-of-control drag racer on a windy, windy mountain road, these friends regale you with their takes of romantic debauchery and epic trilogies of love lost, and their trials and tribulations and breakups and split offs.

So there you are, sitting there hypothetically, and know you have to say it. The joke is there, hanging around that mischievous part of your mind like a kitten with a whoopee cushion, waiting for your words to bring it to life and create nervous laughter in the world. This is the only chance you'll get: the timing is right, the words are in place, it's the perfect punchline.

"I never have these problems!" HAHAHAHAHACRYCRYCRY

Which brings be to the crux of this thought experiment: what do you call This?

"Mixed emotions" is an obvious first contender, but it does not do this phenomenon justice. It has been said that the best example of having mixed emotions is seeing your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your new Lexus. So mixed emotions comes with a implication that you feel both emotions simultaneously. But This, This is different. In This, there is a realisation component, a time factor where the words are processed and the other meaning is slowly eventualised.

One might next turn to the term "bittersweet", but again the word does not connote the emotion precisely. Inherent in the lexicality is the presumption that the "bitter" part comes before the "sweet" one; yet the dread realisation here again is the latter emotion. Bittersweet also defines a simultaneous emotional circumstance.

The last refuge of the confused analyst would be in the word "tragicomic", bringing to mind the stereotypical theatre masks - the happy, smiling face and the sad, moaning visage - which have become symbolic of the stage. It is perhaps the closest and most accurate term thus far - defined as "a situation having both tragic and comic elements", our poor, pitiful joke has certainly earned in that respect. Yet it is still lacking a certain something.

Maybe it's just schadenfreude.
The Edna Man

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