Public crying is something I have a big interest in. Crying in airports, on public transit, looking for yogurt that will help your digestive tract in the grocery store The person doing it always seems to be cut from the same mold. An otherwise totally normal, respectable looking person, dressed nicely, not looking crazy or anything, who for some reason is just breaking down and crying in public. Wah, wah, wah all the way home. And usually about the silliest things! Someone yelling at them at work, or a flubbed interview or presentation or failed attempt to get a promotion. I know why they’re crying not because I’m a mindreader or alien, but because 9 times out of 10 they’re telling someone on their cell phone that they’re crying in the middle of the Jewel, the Brown Line, the Potbelly at Midway without a hint of shame. They’re quite proud, actually – I am flouting social convention by openly weeping in a public place and then calling someone else to tell them about it. They make a big show of trying to stop their tears and being unable to, usually while insisting that whoever is on the other end of the line doesn’t understand what they’re upset about. Can’t possibly understand because it didn’t happen to them!
These are not the people who interest me. No, the criers I’m interested in are the ones who aren’t talking it up, bragging about their makeup running or how everyone is looking at them wondering what’s wrong. People who are really sobbing, one hundred percent unaware of how it sounds and looks, that’s no act. To let other people see you with the pinched, red eyes, dripping snot, gasping breath – that’s a real cry. There’s something truly unhappy motivating that. And those are the people I want to hear from, but they aren’t talking.