I have a fear of crying at work. I think this fear is well-founded because I come from a long line of cry babies. Sure, I cry when I'm sad but I also cry when I laugh really hard (pretty often), when I feel embarrassed (unsurprisingly, tears do not make me feel less embarrassed), or when I'm hungry or when I'm frustrated or when I'm tired. So really I could cry at any time. It's like a shark attack, you never know when it's coming and suddenly there is just water all over and you have to fight to stay in control (of the shark attack aka the tears). And I blame this all on genetics. I have brown hair and am a terrible runner and cry easily: it's all in my genes, I'm telling you! Anyways, the other day, I came real close to realizing my fear of crying at work.
I was walking into the office whilst checking my texts when I read one that had just come in from a group chat with my mom and sister. I skimmed the long paragraph, saw the words "dad" and "car accident" and just immediately started crying. Was this logical? Not really.
Now before you get to thinking that this is about to be a sad and dramatic story, let me just tell you now, it's not. Well, okay, I was being dramatic. It gets kind of dramatic. But not because lives are threatened.
The bad thing about tears is that they make it hard to read. So what I thought was a text from my sister telling me that our dad had been in a car accident, was actually a text from my mom telling us that her dad had been in a car accident. Unfortunately my eyes were already so full of tears, I could not clearly reread and familiarize myself with these pertinent details. I know, this still isn't funny but bear with me.
So instead of trying to go over the paragraph of information that my mother had sent to us, I start calling my sister repeatedly as I walk back out of my office, crying at I would say around 70% capacity. For me, that is like serious cry-face but no audible sobbing. Lots of tears though. Pleeeeeenty of tears to go around. She is not answering. I text the group "call me!" (because apparently typing is not hindered by tears). Once outside, I station myself on the sidewalk and fling my backpack to the ground because one cannot be bothered to hold ones belongs when a perceived crisis is at hand. My sister then calls me back. My memory from my cry-haze is like this:
Morgan: "Hey, what's up?"
Me: [basically indistinguishable through my trademarked, high-pitched I'm-crying-but-trying-to-enunciate-voice] "That text about dad! Car accident!"
Me: "That text you just sent!"
Morgan: "About the podcast you recommended???"*
*30 minutes prior to my breakdown, I had texted the group to tell them about a great new podcast I've been listening to. It's of the utmost importance that I keep my family up to date on my auditory entertainment intake. It's called Limetown. It's INCREDIBLE.
At this point it is clear from the fact that Morgan is not crying that I do not need to be crying either. I can always count on Morgan to also be crying when it's even vaguely appropriate (a long line of criers we are, like I said). Also it is clear she did not send the text message. Also I've misread the text.
Me: "You just sent a text! About dad! Or grandpa! Someone sent a text about someone being in a car accident!"*
Morgan: "No, I just called you because you told me to call you."
Me: "BECAUSE YOU SAID SOMETHING ABOUT AN ACCIDENT!"
I am now crying at 50% capacity. It's still hard to hear what I'm saying, but my voice is not as squeaky. It's definitely clear to me that I have entirely misunderstood the situation and am now just throwing around the two key words I picked up from the message that launched this whole 8:30am cryfest: "dad" and "car accident". Morgan then tells me to wait, presumably to check the text to which I am referring, and I tell her to wait because now my mom is calling. Glenna will help me get to the bottom of this.
Glenna: [because she can tell that I am crying] "What? What's wrong?"
Me: "The accident!"
Glenna: "Huh? Oh, Grandpa! Everything's fine."
Glenna is not from a long line of criers (I blame my dad, and not the dad I misread about in the text message, my real, honest-to-god dad, for this trait) and is clearly nonplussed about my tears. However, I have been alive for 23 years so she is used to it. She proceeds to use her my-daugher-is-crying-so-I-am-being-a-patient-and-calm-mother voice. It's half soothing and half kind of terse. Like, hey can you stop crying please? It's also clear that there are ZERO things to worry about from the "everything's fine" breeziness with which my mother has dismissed the situation.
So this is around when my crying just segues straight into hysterical laughing (still with tears, though). Because I realize I am so cuckoo for jumping to so many conclusions that I swing wildly to the other end of the emotional spectrum. I have, at this point, flung my body to the sidewalk next to my backpack. Outside of my office. Where plenty of other people are walking around trying to start their days and not have a run in with a crying girl on a sidewalk. (At the time I thought I was miles away. When not in a cry-haze, I realized I was like 20 yards from the office doors. Things I cannot do while crying: read or judge distance). I explain to my mom the huge leaps of logic that I have just taken, and she tells me all about my grandpa's not really all that serious car accident (there is a staple in his head, however considering that I was already envisioning someone unconscious in a hospital bed, this seems much less grave and a lot more badass).
Glenna and I have a good ol' laugh about how 4 minutes ago I was on a sobbing tirade. We proceed to talk about totally normal topics. I tell her I am from a long line of criers (as if she doesn't know this). I'm now crying only at 4% capacity which is where there are a few straggler tears you are getting out and you just have a tight throat from the potential threat of tears. My body and belongings are still draped across the sidewalk and I have salt crusting on my cheeks and am sweating a lot because I've worked myself into a tizzy and because I took a too-warm shower at the gym and because the sun is beaming down upon me. And because walking back into my office with cry-face isn't enough, so obviously I also have to be very sweaty too.
Eventually, I peel my self from the sidewalk and walk back into work, past the front desk lady who saw me charging out only moments ago at 70% crying capacity. I hope she notices I'm at a mere 4% now. It's only 8:47am. And technically, I still haven't cried at work.