Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Have you ever laughed in a public place? I mean, have you ever thrown your head back, let the glee bubble up from your gut and explode out of your mouth in a public place? Have you ever gotten the giggles so badly that your eyes water, your stomach aches and your knees weaken--in a public place?

Recently, I had the pleasure of both reading a wonderful novel and experiencing uncontrollable laughter while riding a very busy commuter train home from work. While reading Everything is Illuminated (a fantastic book by Jonathan Safran Foer, worth its own posting) I have smirked, giggled, grinned and grimaced many times, but this day was different. This day, Foer strung together one of the most hilarious string of events I have read in ages, if ever, and of course I read it while squished on a rush hour train.

As I began the new chapter, my lips quirked upwards and quickly spread to a full-faced, goofy smile. The situation rapidly escalated to fits of giggles, usually smothered by my free hand. At some points, I had to balance my book on my lap to utilize both hands to smother. Soon after the dual hand technique, Foer dielivered his most powerful and masterful blow and I was lost.

My tummy began rumbling and shaking, my chest contracted, my Adam's apple bobbed, my head tilted back and my mouth flew open to emit a roar of laughter. All of my cells vibrated with joy. I laughed until my eyes watered. Until my stomach muscles complained. Until my lungs wheezed. Until I collapsed forward to rest my head on my back pack. Until I couldn't laugh anymore because implosion was a giggle away. In this moment, I gently closed my book and put it on the seat beside me, hoping this physical separation would help me regain control.

From the beginning of my giggles, I was aware of my fellow passengers sending inquiring, curious looks my way. Some smiled with me, some squirmed uncomfortably in their seats--but most stared wonderingly at the girl crowing with glee on the commuter rail because of a book. Yes, because of a book. It is unclear if they thought I was crazy for laughing with such gusto on the train, crazy for laughing that hard because of a book, or just plain old, straight up crazy. Nonetheless, people were sadly disconcerted by this break in the norm of public transport. All I have to say is--wait until I read a sad novel. Watch out!

Friday, October 27, 2006

If it's possible to be bouncily groggy, I was this morning. With sleepers still embedded in the corners of my eye, I stumbled to the bus stop. Crisp morning air massaged my bedwarm face as I took a deep breath. Another day, another dollar, I think. Then I take another deep breath and smell fall. Chimney smoke, earth and chill mingle in my nose and I know my favorite season is tryly here. I feel happy. As my IPod fills my ears with music, my mind clears and I relax into my day. I get off the bus to walk to the train station. The cool air and the song in my ear makes me bouncy despite my still blurry state. Luckily, I do this walk so frequently, I don't need to think about where I am going.

As I meander down the sidewalk in my sleepy little world, I encounter a really large, rather disoriented, hairless tailed, football sized, beady eyed....guess?!?! Guess what I saw? Yup! A HUGE rat! He was scurrying furiously about the sidewalk. Unlike the insolent Rat BAstard, this poor rat looked freaked out and confused. He ran toward me, got within three feet and then ran away as fast as his little legs would carry him. The fact that I was screaming like a banshee may or may not have caused this flurry of activity--but I'm not sure. Rat then ran out into the road and head first into (not under) the bus' tire. He backed up, shook his head and scampered between cars and buses. I couldn't tell if he made it not--but this rat was easily the size of a squirrel, so I do know that any driver would have seen him coming! While Rat ran for his life, I continued screaming and doing that special gross out dance--the one where you run in place doing something akin to jazz hands. Whether or not people withnessed this act of courage and bravery I am not sure becasue I didn't dare look around me.

After smoothing my coat, I continued walking to the train station with only periodic returns to the gross out dance. While walking, I find myself worrying that my serious over raction may have caused Rat to sprint to his death. Unlike Rat Bastard, Rat had every right to be on the sidewalk doing his buseiness. He had not violated my personal space or pooped on my books. I won't ever know Rat's fate, but at least he will have this blog by which to be remembered.