The Sitting Alone and Laughing Thing
I am just returned from a late morning breakfast at a local crepery — and what is it with all the creperies in San Francisco anyway? Who said we were all starving for crepes? — where I was sitting at a table for two with Robert and along comes a guy who asks us if the empty table next to us is available. “For what?” I am thinking, and also, “Why are you asking us? Does it look like we’re going to spill over on to the next table with the quantity of foodstuffs we are about to partake of?” because I sometimes suddenly start speaking in an odd, overly formal manner inside my head, but anyway Robert responds that it is free (but neglects to tell him that we moved from that table because it was coated in a veneer of syrup or something else sticky that we’d rather not know what the hell it is) so the guy sits himself down with paper in hand and we are eating our Chorizo Scrambles when the dude starts to chuckle.
Now, I understand chuckling and all. Sometimes, something tickles you so much you’re forced to laugh in spite of yourself. The David Sedaris story about learning French and the Christmas bell that flies around has caused me on at least two occasions to laugh out loud in public spaces. But this fellow continually chuckles all the time. I’m trying to ignore him, frankly, but it’s difficult to do so when you start to wonder if he’s doing it on purpose.
Is the guy so lonely, here in the crepery by himself on a Saturday morning, that he is laughing out loud — and noticeably so, not like under his breath but, you know,”heh! heh! heh! heh!” but thankfully not also remarking “oh, that is rich! Garfield, you slay me!” — so that perhaps the patrons around him will engage him in conversation to ask what is so bloody hilarious? Do people do this? Is this as odd a behavior as I believe it to be?
He goes on with himself like that for the remainder of our breakfasts, which we are now mutually scarfing down as fast as possible to get away from him. It’s unnerving, this weird alone laughter. Maybe I am not as jovial as the rest of the world, but it’s pretty fucking rare for me to sit in a restaurant enjoying myself so much that I am chuckling aloud over every word I am reading. Maybe there’s some noxious gas being seeped into the dining room and we’re just not aware of it yet. Soon, we too will be so much enamored of our Chorizo Scrambles that Robert and I will start laughing aloud, spewing food particles at our dining neighbors, holding out sides and trying to catch our breath at the sheer folly of breakfast.
I choose not to mention the entirely fictional conversation that Robert and I had some minutes earlier regarding his sister’s use of a gun at her wedding and something about floating rabbits and couples fornicating in public with holes cut in the crotches of their jeans in order to annoy the young man sitting on the other side of us whose heavy-handed placement of his empty water glass on the table so annoyed us that we were thinking of going postal on his ass. I mean, honestly, what is it with The Empty Water Glass Thing?
April 21, 2007