Several months ago, my friend sent me a video of a woman reading a book.
Brenda’s Beaver Needs a Barber.
I love wit and clever humor. I love a good turn of phrase. I love double entendres. This was right up my alley.
In the video, this woman was reading the book and showing the pictures, much like you would to a group of children in elementary school or a library.
I started watching the video. I found the double entendres intellectually interesting but wished I could speed up the delivery. Was there a way to watch it sped up? There wasn’t.
I got interrupted by my husband and was equal parts grateful and annoyed.
I tried watching it again later in the day and found myself irritated by the woman reading it. She thought it was so funny that she kept stopping in the middle of a sentence to laugh.
“Get on with it,” I found myself thinking.
I was interrupted by my husband again. Fine, if he was going to keep interrupting me, I’d wait and watch the video with him later.
That evening, we sat side-by-side on the couch to watch the video. By this time, I’d heard the first several pages, and this woman’s interruptive laughter, twice. I took a deep breath and hit play.
As she read each page and got caught up in laughter, my husband smiled.
She got tickled; he got tickled.
He threw his head back with laughter at the cleverness of the author and the experience of watching this woman read this funny book.
Why was I so grumpy?
His laughter softened my grump. Watching him enjoy the experience along with her was a stark contrast to my reaction of wishing she would control herself, read me the book, and get on with it.
I love to laugh. I love clever stories. I love to be taken by surprise when reading or watching something. Why was I not able to enjoy this?
As I got quiet and took a trip inside, I realized I had been working really hard in a very intellectual way recently. I felt like I was racing against a clock and there was no time for fun. When I watched this woman read a book … and take the time to enjoy it, it felt unfair. How dare she take time for fun and whimsy when I wasn’t allowed to. I wanted that. How dare she take it.
That wasn’t the first or last time I caught myself being grumpy in a circumstance that would usually bring me joy, but I am thankful for the realization that when I am grumpy, it is often because someone else is doing something I wish I could do. And I am jealous.
The good news is that by realizing it, I can take steps to alter it.
The truth is there is enough time for fun and whimsy. I am better for it. I am more gracious and engaged in my life. The weight on my shoulders is lighter.
When I catch myself being grumptastic, it’s usually because I’ve gotten too caught up in doing and thinking and have lost the spark of creativity that fuels me.