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!


Maxence Crossley said...

What an awesome image :-)

It's like the giggle loop all over again!

Nissiana said...

I probably would have looked at you like you were crazy, but then I call 'em like I see 'em ;)

Laughter is infectious; you probably generated more smiles and giggles than you realize, and a day in which you laugh is far better than a day in which you do not!

Mel said...

We need an excerpt! What part of the book was it?