I couldn’t let it go. Seemed like a metaphor for all that we have lost in our modern world. Humour; laughter; funny. What does it all mean? Why do we have laughing groups in almost every country in the world? What is all about?
Babies and children seem to smile and laugh at many things and often. I don’t believe that it is always gas. What changed?
I began to question Jillian about specifics. Could she tell me about times when she had laughed? When she had found something funny?
“It’s all about the unexpected,” she said.
“I know,” I replied. “We already discussed that last time. So give me some examples from your life.”
After a few moments she began, “I remember one time, when I came home from work. I was living in this absurd studio apartment [she did the finger quote thingy] which was really the old front sun room of a pretend stately home – I mean it was a biggish rectangular room probably about 6 metres wide and 12 – 15 metres long and all windows across the front so very cold in winter and hellish in summer. It had a very dark black hole of a closet in the back corner which had a toilet and bath/shower. And there was a bit of a bench contraption on one side wall which had a small cooktop and a camp oven kind of thing for cooking. Room for a small fridge and bugger all space for storage of food and other stuff. Really primitive. Quite possibly not approved for letting out as anything other than a rabbit hutch I reckon.
“To be truthful,” she reminisced, “I think that, in itself, was funny, but that’s not the joke.
I had a couple of newly married friends from overseas staying for a few days – less than a week – as they were on a backpacking tour and wanted to get by as cheaply as possible. They had visited me at work this day to see how the other half lived, and as we arrived home we found all my possessions and their stuff on the lawn in front of the ‘room – studio’ and a note from the landlord saying he didn’t want a load of hippies staying at his place. Gave it and him a bad reputation.” [Was that funny as well?]
The shock. But then we peered into the window at the outrageous room we had called home, and the pathetic amount and type of stuff on the lawn and burst out laughing. It was really very funny.
Thank God; amongst the, what amounted to detritus on the lawn, was a bottle of rather indifferent red wine and a few cracked and stained coffee mugs. We laughed and the three of us drank until it started to get dark and we all realized at the same time – we needed somewhere to stay the night, and I had to go to work tomorrow like I still had a place to live. The ridiculousness of this started the laughing all over again. But we were now out of wine. And that, of course, was NOT a laughing matter.”
“Does that qualify?” Jillian asked.
I stopped laughing long enough to tell her it certainly did. The image of all that junk she called – well whatever she called it – spread all over the lawn and the three of them drinking red wine amongst it all makes me laugh now as I write this.
What happened after that is a fish of a different kettle and we may hear more about it in a later episode.