That's not funny.

10.7.07

Last week, during the Jazz Festival, I shared a table for one of the free outdoor shows with this really nice older man who was visiting from Burlington (a small city that is a short train ride away from Toronto). We got to talking and it turns out he was visiting Burlington from Beirut. It cracked me up that he didn't seem to think Beirut was more interesting than Burlington. If I were him I would have opened with Beirut.

We talked a lot about how great the city is and how he was kind of bored staying with his family in Burlington. He escaped for the day, to walk around downtown and have a good time. He wanted to enjoy the art and the culture the city has to offer. He didn't want to drive from backyard to backyard in Burlington. We understood each other right away.

He spoke of long walks on a visit to Paris and a great Italian resto in New York. Later during the show he offered me peanuts to snack on and cheered loudly for a Django Reinhardt number and sang along with a Stevie Wonder tune. He had…zest.

He said that living in Beirut makes you appreciate each day. He said that there's no way to rationalize with people who are happy to let their children blow themselves up for a cause, so you can't live in fear. They're going to do what they do so you've got to do what you do. And that's that. He told me about how last summer when there was so much bombing happening, "the funniest thing happened". There were ships, sending missiles to his part of town. He could feel the earth shake from his bed. It woke him up. You can tell when the missiles are being sent from land or from sea and he knew this was coming from the sea. He turned to his wife and said, "Boy, are we ever lucky that the water is calm today! If they hit a wave, we could be done for! An inch in the wrong direction and that missile could have hit our bedroom!"

And then he waited for me to laugh.

Beause that was his funny story.

That's not funny.

"That's NOT funny,” I said to him. "That's HORRIBLE".

And then he laughed at me.


8 comments :

  1. What a lucky, chance-meeting... but so so sad. I guess sometimes people don't know what else to do but laugh, when things are so horrible!

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  2. If it's a question of laughing or crying...

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  3. Poor fella. I can hear him relating his side of his TO adventure to the wife: "And I was giving the girl my best stuff. Tough table!"

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  4. My guess is that when you live in a place like Beirut, you sort of have to resort to gallows humor to get by. It would, indeed, be a horrible way to live.

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  5. I feel so very lucky that I don't have to live like that. Every day is a little bit of an easier gift for me than it is for him.

    Thank you for sharing that story, Miss T. It was a good one.

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  6. Finally! I have been trying to post for like 3 days now! But anyway... all I wanted to say was I laughed at that story. Make no mistake it was a laugh in horror as I realized it was funny to him. Wish I could be so humourous about even the minor things that affect me.

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  7. Dude, that is one funny story. PLUS, I just saw your website! Yikes, it looks great. Nice going.

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