Wednesday, January 06, 2010

8/4/76 - 4

Laughter is mechanical. It's like an engine. It takes a spark to start but then it goes all by itself.

I had an idea. It was a funny idea. And so it made me laugh – in sputtering starts at first. But soon I was laughing hard, my chest and shoulders heaving. A tear ran down my cheek.

You get a funny idea, you laugh.

What was my idea? My idea was this: I should open the door right now and get out of the car. That'd be funny. It'd even be funnier if I said goodbye to everyone first.

Just imagine. Seventy miles an hour on the Garden State Parkway. Everybody sitting where they sit. Lost in their petty little worlds. Thinking of this or that. Sex. Drugs. Food. Music. I'd break the silence with a jovial salutation: Alright guys, I gotta go! Bye! Then I'd open the door, wind rushing in like crazy. Step out of the car like it was nothing. Disappear into a speck in the rear-view.

There's a lot of different things I could say before l go. Hey! Take it easy guys. I'll see you later. Or: OK everybody, I'm gonna split. All equally funny. I was laughing like hell.

Why was it funny? 'Cause we were in a car. The dashboard and the ceiling and the seats. When you're in a car, you ain't goin' nowhere.

It was funny because of the way Jim gripped the wheel. A little tensely, knuckles white. A little seriously. Driving is serious, man.

I stilled my hysteria long enough to speak.

"Driving is serious, man."

"What?" Jim said, his voice dissolving into an airy chuckle. He looked at me with a bemused but affirming smile. And then he looked back at the road.

I flicked the chrome door handle a couple times. Flick. Flick. God it would be funny. Goodbye!