i have an unintentional habit of laughing at everything. loud outbursts at inappropriate times. uncontrollable silent heaving with deep gasping inhales. awkward chuckles that make me shutter when i press replay in my head immediately after the incident.
some people find it entertaining. some people find it annoying. some people find it offensive. some people.
regardless of their internal reaction, the external response is always the same: sara, what’s so funny?
it’s all about context. or lack thereof.
we’ve all done it before. you walk into a party and see a group of your friends. as you walk up all you hear is susie say: so i took the horse to the dry cleaners.
what? you butt in.
warning: this blog is going downhill from here. it is almost 2am. i just watched the newest episode of dexter and of course, i can’t sleep. although dexter didn’t kill anyone this episode, so maybe i’ll fall asleep faster than usual.
but it’s true. we take things out of context pretty regularly.
we could be skimming the pages of a book and only catch part of a sentence.
we could be tuning into a radio station during the middle of a segment.
we could be picking up the phone receiver to make a call and realize someone else is already on the line.
or how about butt dials? those always leave you completely clueless about the situation on the other end of the call.
in my case, it is an almost purposeful dissolving of context. plucking the parts that make me smile out of the whole. placing periods where i see fit, even if the speaker continues a second later turning my assumed period into a comma or semicolon.
i’ve had this pointed out to me in conversation with friends and strangers recently. i’ve also noticed it in myself recently.
last week, i stayed at my friend’s friends’ house in the echo park neighborhood of los angeles. (and i have no clue how to apostrophe-ate that properly.) upon their coffee table was a book about surviving in the wilderness. not the kind you would bring with you in the wilderness to actually survive, but the kind that you would have on your ikea coffee table in los angeles.
i sat next to my friend on the couch as she mindlessly flipped through the pages. i didn’t want to read over her shoulder, but my eyes quickly scanned the page open closest to me. all i got was this:
if you have a gun and enough time…
there was definitely more to the sentence. there was definitely more to the page. but why would i want to read further after a thought like that?!
it was like one of those would you rather questions or college entrance short answer essay prompts.
if you had a gun and enough time…what would you do? what could you do? what should you do?
i’m sure if i had read on i would have found out what you could do. probably sit and wait and shoot some small game to roast over the fire the book taught you how to build in chapter two.
but where is the fun in that?
and so i build my own context. a choreography of words. subjectively choosing where to place other people’s punctuation to give myself the most entertainment. you might not mean to say what i hear, but i suppose it’s all contextual anyways.
give it a try. it will leave you inappropriately outbursting alongside me. and two outbursters are always better than one.
i’m hitting publish. i do apologize.