I tend to be cynical.
It’s a flaw, and—like herpes and rectal drip—it’s not something easily controlled or contained. Too often in life, I see something and immediately develop criticisms. As a journalist, I suppose this has done me well. I don’t tend to accept things at face value.
On the other hand, it can be an ugly way to think.
Earlier this evening, I was walking with some friends along the beach behind Hotel del Coronado off of San Diego. It’s an absolutely majestic place, with gorgeous sunsets and landscapes. To call it “magnificent” is to woefully understate.
Anyhow, we came across a table in the sand, with two chairs, a couple of glasses, a guitar player and a bunch of signs offering such platitudes as YOU MAKE ME A BETTER PERSON and I’VE NEVER LOVED ANYONE AS I LOVE YOU. It was immediately clear someone was about to propose, and a crowd of, oh, 100 people gathered around. My first thought: Cheesy.
Yeah, cheesy. And cliched. The rose pedals on the ground. The signs. The public proposal in front of strangers. C’mon, man. Just … c’mon.
But then, well, it happened. The couple arrived. The man got down on one knee after opening up a box with the ring. They hugged, he looked at all of us and exclaimed, “She said YES!” Everyone clapped, everyone cheered, a few people wiped tears from their eyes. It was beautiful—cheesiness be damned. Simply beautiful.
And it also caused me to ask myself why, oh why, am I so pessimistic? Why the cynicism and negativity? Why can’t I just be happy for someone, without looking toward the dark side?
The answer: I don’t know.
But perhaps watching a proposal by the sunset changed my ways.