I’m a sucker for schmaltzy. I get teary at the start of Broadway musicals when the orchestra swells; I am the person Hallmark commercials are targeted at. My eyes brim at moment of beauty. I simply can’t control it.
I’m in Atlanta right now, working at a conference with my company. My shift ended at 3:00 yesterday, so I walked out to see the sites around downtown. I knew I only really had two hours until most of the attractions closed, so I settled on the World of Coca-Cola, since it seemed small enough to be manageable in that time frame.
As with many museums nowadays, you are herded from the lobby to a theater, where you watch the Welcome movie. This is Coca-Cola, so the movie was predictably schmaltzy (I have been known to get misty during Coke commercials. All that global happiness and such). The movie’s focus was on moments of happiness around the world (of course, accompanied by the ever present glass bottle): a man proposing to a woman while on a hot air balloon ride, a toddler bathing a puppy in a bathtub, a teen organizing a surprise party for her grandma.
One mini-story, however, made me cry. Really cry, not the “aww, that’s so sweet and touching” tears that I’m sure Coke was expecting. In this scene, a couple pushes a baby stroller with an envelope to the front steps of a house. They ring the bell and dash away, giggling, to hide behind the bushes. An older couple comes out, and the woman tears open the envelope. Inside is a card: You’re going to be grandparents! The couple shrieks and cries tears of joy while the younger couple dance out to embrace them.
The first thought in my mind? “She’s not even showing yet!”
The second (and third, etc.): “Is she crazy for announcing this? It’s so early! How does she know she’s not just setting these grandparents up for devastation? Doesn’t she know how hard it will be when she has to break their hearts, too? How dare she be so arrogant and confident to pull this stunt before she even is showing!”
I felt: angry at myself for this instantaneous, from-the-gut reaction. Jealousy. Bitterness. The deep disappointment of never having that moment myself, because I “know better.”
Needless to say, the movie didn’t leave me feeling happiness, though I don’t really blame Coke. I blame that woman. It’s ridiculous; I know. But the tears came anyway.
I survived. Here’s an “after” photo for balance.