I woke up for work yesterday to the news that a member of my extended family had passed away suddenly in the early hours of the morning. Far disparate from the long battle with illness, sudden death has a curious effect on those who encounter it: not only is the situation surreal, but it subtly disengages you from your routine. I started going through the morning motions, but stopped immediately and got back into bed. When I eventually went into work, I only managed to stay for three hours. After taking care of all pressing issues, I went to the Galleria and walked around with my headphones on. I bought two pairs of earrings and a new umbrella. I kept running into an old man who seemed slightly unhinged who complimented my hat over and over again. When I got back to my apartment, I climbed back into bed and slept some more.
The loss was personal, as we are relatives, but it wasn't so personal that I could claim it as my own. There are people hurting more than I am. There are other who need comfort more than me. So I forced myself to find a distraction. I watched a tiny open mic that was half comedy and half poetry. Uncharacteristically, I felt closer to the comedy half of things. I laughed so loudly that everyone stared at me. One of the comics asked if I was a comic, and I almost lied and said yes. Laughter was the opposite of how my day had started, but it righted the ship. After the show, I went out for drinks with a few stragglers and had a lively discussion that kept us all up into the wee hours. The evening was glorious and unexpected. I collapse into bed after the cab home, happily this time.
A friend told me that people should pay me to go to see comedy because of how clear it is that I'm enjoying myself. It was an odd, but satisfying, thing to hear about myself. My laugh has been made fun of on more than one occasion--I have a full-force cackle that will incriminate me for better or worse in any crowd-- and I am severely critical of comedy as a genre (shock value humor--meh; "classic" comedy films--mehhh; comedians in general--less schtick plz), but I do love to laugh. In my weakened state, it's entirely possible everything landed as funny because anything would've seemed funny. Regardless, I'm grateful for the gift of laughter at the end of a tough day. Sometimes, the world is bad. But it can also be hilarious.