On Saturday, my girlfriend got up early in the morning to help out some friends of our who were working on the 48 Hour Film Festival, in which they write, direct, perform, and edit a seven minute film in the space of two days (at the most). My girlfriend--not a morning person--ran around back and forth from Brooklyn into Manhattan to pick up costumes, fake blood, and various props and special effects for her friends, taking the G an L train multiple times*, and walking nearly a mile. If you were in the city this past weekend, you know that it was temperate day, for Venus, and anytime you turned on the faucet to get a drink all you got was a faceful of steam and maybe some molten lead.
* If you're not from NYC at all, you just know that waiting for the G train is what set David Berkowitz off and made him decide the dog was talking sense, and the L is only slightly better
So it must have been frustrating for her to return back to my place, two hours later than she'd hoped to be, to find me in a bathrobe, in front of the A/C, drinking iced coffee and eating a bowl of cereal. She snapped. I don't mean she got snippy, I mean that there was a momentary psychotic break, and she yelled "WHY ARE YOU EATING CEREAL?!?" and before I could formulate a response, or even really conceive what was going on, she crumpled to the couch, preemptively defeated in the argument we'd apparently had.
Now, this is a delicate situation for a guy like me to be in, because I am defensive, especially when challenged, and convinced I am always right, because I am more than 50% of the time and that's all it takes to get a reputation in your own mind for being right. But this is my girlfriend, who I care about quite a bit. So I had two conflicting but equally important goals in mind to respond to her.
To let my girlfriend know that she was utterly crazy and wrong to blame me for eating cereal in my bathrobe at 2pm, instead of being completely ready to go out with her and get lunch or to have brunch waiting for her, along with a cocktail and some iced tea
To make her happy and satisfied and ease her burdens and do everything that I could to cheer her up after the awful start to the day.
I don't claim to have figured out an argument to have expressed both of these things at once. I put forward to you that it is impossible to do so. You can never try to make some happy and content while simultaneously demonstrating to them why they are wrong and completely and totally irrational and just need to re-thefuck-lax.
Luckily, I'm pretty incoherent in the morning and not really the Mensa student I am after a cup of coffee and afternoon, so I was still mostly stammering my way around an aggressive word of support and love for her when we sorted out how to just get us all some food and stay out of the worst of the sandwiches. I imagine this is kind of how dumb couples operate--the moment have passed before you think of your cutting response or even realize you should be offended.
But that might be just extraordinarily condescending for me to have said.
And yet, life with the WHY ARE YOU EATING CEREAL?!? is nevertheless portrayed as something for characters in movies to strive for. Nathan Rabin, in The Onion AV Club, coined it as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, in his review of the execrable movie Elizabethtown (the Onion would later realize that they had a genuine phenomenon on their hand, and would compile a definitive list of Manic Pixie Dream Girls, which is worth a read if you want to remember the type of girls you wanted to sleep with in college until you actually did wind up doing so, or seeing Garden State, whichever put you off the whole thing first)--that crazy woman who's weirdness and crazy perspective on everything winds up altering the way you live the rest of your life, until you're capturing tears in a jar and yelling into abysses and then pretty soon she's transformed from Natalie Portman into Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, all mood-swings and alcoholism and secrets and infidelity. Because as any Zach Braff movie will tell you, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl will make you want to kill her in the end.
No, I'm much more content with something different, maybe a Dryad Dream Woman With Slight Blood Sugar Issues, Sometimes. And the moment you see me try to shout into an abyss, please just push me in.