J.P.M.S.- What’s Your Excuse?

Woman tearing her hair out

She gets a little edgy when it takes her 45 minutes to drive to the mall which is only 8 miles away.  She parks about as far from the entrance as one can get after circling the garage 3 or 4 times.   The store is out of the item she is looking for and the saleswoman is rude and patronizing.  She returns home and takes it out on the first family member she encounters.  Blame it on H.S.S. – Holiday Stress Syndrome. (there is a pre and post H.S.S., by the way)

In Wisconsin, she would get a bit irritated and jumpy after months of sunless, grey skies and house-bound children, a car that took forever to warm up, piles of soggy clothes ruining the hardwood floors, missing hats and mittens and snow up to the eyeballs.  When she ran after her mouth-y, middle-child with a hairbrush, intending to use it as a weapon, she realized she needed help.  A trusted friend encouraged her.  “It’s just S.A.D.,” she said. – Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Sometimes she starts a project, never to finish it.  She’s been known to begin a story, head it off in another direction, and end up not knowing what she was originally going to say.  Perhaps she has A.D.D.- Attention Deficit Disorder.

She couldn’t stop crying and was wildly overwhelmed after 10 days of little to no sleep.  The bundle of joy she brought home from the hospital wailed constantly,  wanted to nurse every two hours, hung on tight to her sore nipples and sucked for at least 45 minutes. (you do the math).  “Perfectly normal,” her friend said, “P.P.D.” – Postpartum Depression.

She bravely suffered through other typical  hormonal behavioral conditions, counting on the day of the month or the increasing number of years to explain and label her outbursts.  Was it -P.M.S., pre-post or menopausal?

She is a gracious southern woman, taught from birth that you “get more with sugar than with lemons.”  She exercises self-control and always chirps a pleasant, “good to see you,” at parties, soon to be followed by,  “bless your heart.”  Today, however, she spoke in anger and stormed out of the room slamming the door.  This time she doesn’t question her condition.  She knows that she suffers from a bad case of  J.P.M.S. – Just Plain Mad, Stupid!

The Best DISTURBING Exotic Marigold Hotel

The theatre was full.  It was opening day for a movie I had very much wanted to see. How could it miss with a brilliant cast of proven favorites?  Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson have proven themselves again and again over the course of many, many years that each one can single-actedly  carry out any cinematic challenge.  The idea of them together as a team of characters promised a mother load of possibility.


My husband and my son were with me.  We have all been to India and have found that the intense sights, sounds, smells and experiences can create hilarious reactions when American’s try to adapt. (video clip of my son washing clothes in India)

I started giggling right off the credits, quickly progressing to dignified laughter. My son and husband also chuckled along with the matinée crowd of gray, sparsely haired, movie lovers.

Somewhere during the first 30 minutes or so, the full belly laugh started.  I realized that I was laughing a little louder and a little longer than anyone else in the theatre.  It felt really good to laugh so hardily until the reserved, rational part of my brain asked my throw caution to the wind part of my brain, “What is so darn funny?”

It wasn’t the India part that got to me, although it was funny, beautiful and alluring.  It was the other part.  That adorable group of retirees, grandparents, health challenged, life-seeking, technically behind, grumpy, elderly people could be me.  Disturbing,  right?

A few tears surfaced as I tried to reign in my laughter so that it would not cross over into the land of sobs.  I am happy to say that I recovered, regrouped and throughly enjoyed the rest of the movie.