Sometimes, when I’m the only one out in the neighborhood on a Tuesday night, walking up the driveway in the dark I find myself laughing. That’s a different kind of laughter though, the softer one that happens when you’re laughing at yourself. Usually because my roommate or I forgot to take the trash to the curb the previous week, and now the bin weighs two of me, and it takes all my effort to drag it to the street. I always think what a humorous sight it’d be to see, but it’s always just me. This laughter was different, I couldn’t stop it from bubbling up and roaring out. The volume drowned out the sound of the plastic wheels scraping the cracks in the cement. I hadn’t laughed so hard, in so long. The kind where if I wasn’t gripping the handle of the trash bin with one hand, and holding my phone in the other, I’d be clutching my stomach and doubled over trying to catch my breath. (Which is what happened anyways when I made it to the street side.) I sucked in air in a quick moment, as I looked up at the stars, and felt the stillness of the night and wondered if any of the neighbors were going to take a peak out their front doors, or through the curtains from the street facing windows of their houses to see what all the commotion was about. That might be a tad bit embarrassing, but not enough to keep me quiet because those uncontrollable laughs that spill out like that, they don’t happen everyday and it’s not worth squelching them.
Talking on the phone is a weird thing. It’s funny because what used to seem such a simple, obvious form of communication has turned into something else when we can just type words on the screens of our phones, or shoot someone a Facebook message. All these other ways of “communicating,” that use words, but they’re different. You don’t hear the way the octave of someone’s voice rises when they get excited, or the quiet contemplative hmm as they carefully choose words to describe this opinion they’re conveying. You don’t hear when you’ve made someone laugh those deep belly laughs, or when they’re surprised at your understanding of some off the wall thought you blurt out. It’s different when someone whispers some meaningful phrase and the words travel to your ears, instead of seeing them in an instantaneous flash on a back-lit bright white grainy page. Sometimes I get lost in the weird black hole of time spent on the internet, but I’d much rather loose track of time swapping stories, and learning a person out loud.