Me? Dramatic?? Well I am simply insulted! I am perfectly capable of being mellow JUST WATCH ME. HEY LOOK HOW CALM I AM.
Alright, I’m over it.
I’ve been told by a handful of people that I am “down to earth.” I’m still not 100% sure of what exactly this entails, but I do know that “down to earth” people tend not to be dramatic people… this is why I’m terrified of the idea of mind-reading. Can’t have people knowing I’ve bamboozled them.
I feel like if you’re going to be a good writer, you have to be at least a little bit of a closeted drama-queen. If you don’t experience drama in real life, how are you going to make up conflict in your stories? I’ve tried writing stories without conflict, but the problem is just how far you can go with just a concept with no struggle: it becomes less of a story and more like a snapshot within one. They also happen to be boring as hell.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be an externally dramatic person. Most of the drama in my life is basically with myself; when I imagine getting into a fight with someone, there’s a lot of screaming and possibly even punching involved. One calm conversation later, I’m embarrassed I had even had those thoughts (but very very relieved that I’ve yet to actually punch someone).
I can only think of once when I was truly being dramatic. It was such a small, stupid thing too. I was once taking the subway home from work (that should be enough explanation right there). It was 95 degrees with 99% humidity outside and 300 degrees with 107% humidity in the subway station, and my brain was fried from a long day. The platform looked like a freeze-frame of an apocalypse movie: everyone looked utterly distraught and utterly soaked, as though they had just run from a world-ending explosion and left everyone they had ever known to die. I say freeze-frame because no one moved a muscle unless they absolutely had to: to move meant to create more heat.
That was, except for one woman. I understood her predicament; the faster we all got on the train, the faster we’d be in sweet, air-conditioned heaven. I understood, but I still could not comprehend her actions as the train began to roll into the station, which were these: without saying a word, this woman puts on a “don’t fuck with me” face, stares into the metal train doors, and just leans directly on me. My immediate thought is that she’s passed out from the heat. I have a feeling if I were to step to the side, she’d fall flat on her face. I am not about to do that, though, because I am still ahead of her in the line to go into the train. And because of that fact, as soon as the train doors opened, she puts even more strain on me, and I can feel this woman’s entire body pressed up against mine, radiating anger and heat, passing them onto me.
What was I supposed to do? Smile and ask her to please stop using me as a battering ram?
I turn around, face this sweaty, middle-aged tourist, and yell “EXCUSE ME” without taking out my headphones, and proceed with walking onto the train.
I feel like my first thought after that should’ve been, “Wow, I’ve officially become a stereotypical asshole New Yorker.” Alas, that was my second thought. My first thought was this: “SHE’S STILL PUSHING PAST EVERYONE. LOOK AT THIS IDIOT. THE TRAIN ISN’T EVEN HALF FULL AND SHE’S STILL GOING. LADY, YOU ARE ALREADY ON THE TRAIN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
I suppose this story wouldn’t seem awfully dramatic to someone who really is dramatic, but it’s fairly extreme for me. So extreme, in fact, that when I told my best friend about what happened, she looked at me and skeptically thought that when I told her that I had yelled “EXCUSE ME,” what I really meant was that I had whispered “um, excuse me please,” then let her go in front of me. Honestly I had to hand it to her; on any other day, that probably would’ve been how it happened.
For a final touch of my hidden dramatic side: despite my own discomfort, I felt way too satisfied seeing the woman’s face as she realized (along with the rest of us) that the subway car she had fought her way onto was not air conditioned after all.
I’ve officially become a stereotypical asshole New Yorker. A little quieter than the rest, but I’d say I’ve definitely reached that milestone.