Sunday, 28 February 2010

Are you happy?

Happiness hit her like a train on a track
Coming towards her stuck still no turning back
She hid around corners and she hid under beds
She killed it with kisses and from it she fled
With every bubble she sank with her drink
And washed it away down the kitchen sink

(Whatever it all means. The best song at the moment by Florence and the Machine.)

My old friend was in town for the weekend. The glamorous one.

It has been so long, we both have changed a little. In the seven years, she got even more glamorous, and I had a child. We had a fancy dinner, paid by her hard work in Moscow, and stood outside, sharing a cigarette, like we used to, all those years ago. It was nice, except for the taste of nicotine I no longer enjoy. But cigarette breaks are important. They are intimate. They make you talk about stuff that you don’t normally discuss over fancy dinner with truffles and lobsters. She looked at me, I looked at her.

She asked: Are you happy?

Isn’t it the scariest question ever? Even if you are deliriously, stupidly happy, wont you panic for a split second? Why would she ask? Do I appear unhappy? I never ask people if they are happy. It is one of those things.

To me, happiness is never constant. Hard to explain, impossible to catch, so difficult to measure. Yesterday, after shower, I was getting ready for an afternoon with local friends and their kids. My daughter was playing downstairs, and I suddenly heard her sing “giddyup, giddyup!” to her toy horse. And a happy, cosy, warm feeling spread inside me. My happiness is fickle. It cheats on me a lot. How can I feel happy when a day at work was miserable, or I argued with husband? How can I be happy when I think of the people I miss so badly, but who are no longer alive? Can anyone simply answer “ yes,I am”, without thinking of their problems, issues, worries and dilemmas?

I told her yes, I was happy. When not stressed, tired or annoyed about something. Was she happy? I did not ask. Why make her panic?


  1. People will always raise questions: if you are single, when are you getting married; if you are married, when are you having children; if you have a child, when are you having another one.
    To me, happiness isn't constant either. It's an instant, a second. Whether we grab it or we just let it go trought, that's totally up to us.

  2. Scary,u watered my eye & I got smile at the same time.Thank u,love,it was very touching

  3. The problem is, the moment anyone asks such a question, it forces you to step outside what you're feeling and analyse it - which means that, even if you were blissfully happy when the question was asked, you aren't any more (at least not until you stop the analysing and step back into the moment). I choose to be happy as often as I can.

  4. @Gabriela: Yes, nicely put. Totally agree.
    @Bill: Yes, totally agree! :)

  5. The only time anyone asked me this question is when I was visiting my friends in Baku. Several different people asked: men, women, close friends and new acquaintances. It must be a Baku thing.

  6. My happiness is also fickle. It wasn't too long ago that I thought a life that didn't a majority of happy days, wasn't a life I was interested in. Now I realize that the bitterness makes the sugar sweeter. Great post.