Thursday, June 18, 2009

Life’s Little Delights

I love people. I love to talk to people. I love to watch people. I love to watch people talking with other people.

You get it, people are interesting, people are fun. Glad we have them here on planet Earth. Moving on.

Just about every day I see or hear someone doing or saying something that later works itself into my writing, or into a comedy bit, or just into a story to amuse my friends.

Sometimes it finds its way into all three.

It's not unusual for me to find more than one hidden iceberg of comedy lurking just beneath the surface of my ordinary day.

I have a friend who teaches his comedy writing students to keep a notebook with them at all times to write down anything that strikes their fancy.

One day I saw something that still makes me grin whenever I picture it.

I didn't have a notebook, but there is no way short of a severe brain injury that I'll ever forget watching this particular scene.

It is seared into the synapses of my brain, or at least into the synapses connected to my funny bone.

I was taking a course at a local college and just before class I was sitting in my car at a traffic light waiting to turn into the parking lot.

The car in front of me had one occupant. He was fiddling with his rear view mirror while the light was red.

The light turned green but the car didn't move.

I'm a polite person, so I gave him a minute to notice the light without honking my horn.

I was so glad that I did.

We ended up sitting through two cycles of the light because he was busy perfecting something and I was busy laughing my butt off and hoping he wouldn't see me and stop.

The car's occupant was a young, stick thin guy who was so white that he verged on being incandescent.

He was dressed all in black.

His eyes were lined in black.

His hair was dyed jet black.

He had multiple piercings in his face and ears.

He was painfully cool.

I could see him thinking about how cool he was right there in his rear view mirror.

He didn't notice that the light had changed because he was intently watching himself.

What he was doing, for want of a better phrase was "pose smoking."

At first he was just smoking normally, but then he began sending the smoke out of his lips in various ways; at the roof of the car, out of the side of his mouth, in one big exhale, etc.

Then he tried improving his style by smoking his cigarette in a "French" way, holding the cigarette between the second and third finger of his right hand, the back of his hand bringing the cigarette to his mouth; his whole focus seemingly riveted toward getting the sneer just right as he blew the smoke back out into the mirror.

I sat there grinning, covering my mouth so he wouldn't see.

The light changed, but he didn't notice it, and I sure as heck wasn't going to honk at this point.

Next, he tried smoking the "looks like he's smoking a joint" way, pinching the cigarette hard between thumb and index finger, deeply dragging so that almost the whole cigarette was burned up in one inhale.

Once he had his lungs sufficiently filled with smoke, he attempted a smoke ring.

One smoke ring came out just fine and then the next didn't go so well and he began an epic coughing fit.

He was hacking so violently that even though he couldn't have weighed as much as his spare tire, he was making his whole car bounce up and down and rock from side to side as he coughed.

I was laughing hard by then and not even attempting to hide it.

I sat there whooping, torn between acting on my mommy instincts; hopping out, patting him on the back and offering water, and hoping he'd continue.

Before I decided between the two, he recovered.

He used his sleeve to dry his eyes, checked the status of the light, which was red again, and lit another cigarette.

This time he opted for the eyes squinted up "let it hang out of the side of my mouth while I talk" tough guy look.

So, there he was, eyes squinted up, smirking, cigarette dangling from his lips……a haze of smoke encircling his head…..intently watching himself in the mirror.

When he shot himself with his finger gun and followed it up with the universal what's up chin lift……..

I almost wet myself.

Seriously, I was laughing so loud at that point that I don't know how he didn't hear me.

But, sadly, before he could rummage around and find a really long cigarette holder and do an impression of a sixties spy movie villain, the light changed and he drove into the lot. (he would have needed a long haired white cat to stroke while smoking to complete this visual anyway)

I do have to say that I don't approve of smoking. It's a disgusting habit. It makes you smell bad, taste bad and inhibits your ability to rhyme. (little known but true fact)

I've always been, as Tony Randall was often described, "a militant anti smoker," but on this day I loved the tobacco industry because it was truly one of the funniest things that I've ever seen someone do in real life.

To be fair, I guess he thought that he was doing it in private. But HELLO….those glass things you can see out of???? People can see IN too.

I'm so glad that I waited when the light turned green.

If I'd been impatient and honked at the guy, I would have missed his whole show.

The lesson learned?

If you're observant and patient and kind and wise and gentle and open hearted…..the universe rewards you by letting you see something funny enough to make you snort bologna out of your nose.

So to sum up…….smoking isn't cool no matter how many ways you try it…….neither is necrophilia…..which has nothing to do with anything ....other than in my personal lexicon of uncool things, smoking and necrophilia are both in the top ten, so I thought that I'd share.


mdvelazquez said...

That is funny. One can see people doing the funniest things when they think no one is watching.

I've seen people do some funny things on the subway (I'm in NYC). Seriously, you're on the subway!

P.S. Thank you for your wonderful response to the comment I left yesterday.

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Maria,
And you're welcome.
Karen :)

mdvelazquez said...

Karen: It occured to me that I should have shared one of my funny subway stories. :-)

One morning (I travel to work at 3:00 a.m.) a man and three young ladies board the subway and stand by the pole by one of the doors. Strange! There are only a few occupied seats. Within two stops, they are using the straphangers pole as if it were a stripper pole. Alcohol may have been involved. Several stops later they are still going strong when a young couple board. Alcohol is definitely involved since they are carrying around a bottle of rum (I could smell it) in a paper bag and are still imbibing. The girl joins the fun and is going all out on the pole. A few stops later the couple prepare to disembark and talk the original group into joining them on their next adventure. Isn't NYC great? You can make friends anywhere and at any time. :-)

Karen from Mentor said...

Maria, that beats a guy smoking in his car I think.
Thanks for sharing.
Karen :)

Anonymous said...

Well I guess I'll share a fun story too.

One day recently I was in the Winking Lizard, rather late at night, while an Indian's game was going on. So it was loud and noisy and lots of people were about. All of a sudden, this guy comes tearing into the place in a white button up shirt and nice pants that looked like he'd possibly slept in them. The strange thing though? He had what appeared to be a broken pair of handcuffs dangling from his right wrist. He disapeared into the back and I sat there for a minute seriously wondering if maybe I should call the police. No one else seemed disturbed by this though, so I sat and waited to see if he'd come back out. Well, when he did, it turned out that he was wearing a watch and some sort of long dangly keychain attached to said watch, and NOT handcuffs.

Strange what the mind can make you see, I don't know, maybe the waitress put something in my salad.


Karen from Mentor said...

LOL lol LOL a lot.
Thanks for sharing baby....and next time??? Don't leave your salad unattended.

P.S. the cops would have thought you were cute....(and they'd be right) so no harm no foul...

Doesn't matter what door you come in Rachelwhotoldafunstoryevenwithoutablog....

j said...

Ha! Best part of this story is that you didn't honk. From now on, that will be my advice to writers just starting out. "Don't honk," I'll tell them, and they will all assume that I am so wise they cannot quite decipher the meaning of my words.

Karen from Mentor said...

Zen and obsequious like YODA.... I LIKE it...

Karen from Mentor said...

I actually meant enigmatic and Zen,
but obsequious was stored right next to enigmatic on an index card in my brain.

do you know the Steve martin bit where he's singing about his Grandma and playing the banjo and tries to get the audience to sing along and part of the lyrics are obsequious and purple?????
so funny. Go, search...I'm sure Youtube has it.
(you're welcome)
Cause as Steve is wont to can't be sad while playing the also can't be sad watching Steve Martin.

Cat Connor said...

That was truly hilarious. People often under estimate there ability to be entertained by just waiting!
Thanks for the laugh - made for a great way to start the day.

PS. I'm Cat - I hear you have a review copy of my book! I REALLY hope you enjoy it!! :-)

Karen from Mentor said...

I opened it last night. It caught my attention on the first page. I love your style. I can't wait to finish it and get back to you.
Glad you liked the post.
Karen :)

jennifertanner said...

Hey Karen!
I love, love, love to people watch! The guy in the car sounds hilarious. I used to commute to the city every day and that meant sitting in traffic for thirty minutes each morning at the toll exchange before the entrance to the bridge.

I remember seeing people brushing their teeth, flossing, applying makeup, guy ate a bowl of lady knitted! And if I was lane next to the HOV lane, I'd see the "cheater"..the guy who had a blow up doll strapped in the back seat so he could use the commuter lane and not have to pay a toll. (He eventually got caught.)

Karen from Mentor said...

Hey Jen,
I've seen men shaving,and people eating (never cereal though, that's a good one)
The best thing was a guy eating a hamburger and reading the newspaper WHILE DRIVING.
And it wasn't stop and go traffic. It was 65mph highway driving. That was pretty scary.
Karen :)

Anonymous said...

That was HILARIOUS! Even if I did see something that funny, I could never write it as funny as you did. Loved it!

Rougeneck said...

I am not a patient person. At all. And in fact, I was having lunch with a priest today (for the record we were both drinking tequila) and in an effort to impress him (even though I am Jewish and don't need to impress priests) I acknowledged my lack of patience and my intentions/efforts to be more zen in life. Though I don't think I used the word zen. Didn't want him to think I was a Buddhist. Not that there's anything wrong with that. and he didn't say anything. Which was fine. He didn't need to. Anyways, after reading this post, I am beginning to see the rewards of patience. Thank you Karen From Mentor. You actually out-priested a priest.

Karen from Mentor said...

Since you write BEAUTIFULLY, and are artistic in so many other ways...that was quite a compliment. Thank you ma'am. Glad it tickled you.

(head swells, turns pink)


Karen from Mentor said...

woo hoo, I "outpriested a priest" for patience.... fun!!!

But that doesn't mean I have to join the club with the whole celibacy thing does it Sarah?
Cause...gotta say....that just wouldn't work for me.

Oh and patience and Sex????? G R E A T combination. Would say more.....but there's the whole daughter cringing as she reads this thing again. (email me, we'll talk)
Hugs to you missy.
Karen :)

Anonymous said...

Eeek.... (cringes more)
You're doing this on purpose, aren't you....

Karen from Mentor said...

LOL, no baby, just being me....and btw Sarah Started it!!!!!!!

but did you like the part about the donkey and perspective?????

mom :)

Karen from Mentor said...

(see "My Promise to You" for the donkey and perspective comment thread.)

Kris said...

Uh oh, I had NO IDEA you were behind me at that light!! How emabarrassing!

Oh, wait... You said the driver was a guy, didn't you. Must not have been me. Never mind!

LOL! I had a friend in high school who smoked. I never actually caught him practicing his poses, but he must have because he always got the most comical squinty look in his eyes, like he was doing a Marlboro Man impression. Not exactly the cool expression I think he was aiming for. Only he looked more like a young Michael J. Fox than a cowboy. Eventually he learned not to smoke around me because he didn't want me lecturing him on health issues and he didn't want me teasing him about the squinty eyes.

I think the weirdest story I've got was when I was stopped at a light and I noticed the driver in the car next to me typing away on a laptop. And to make me even more confused, there was a second laptop in the passenger seat. And since screensaver wasn't up on either of computer, I can only deduce that he was somehow using both of them while driving. Weird stuff!

Karen from Mentor said...

LOL Kris,
thanks for sharing.

Maybe the guy with two laptops was a super spy saving the world..was he in a tuxedo?

mernitman said...

Karen: Very funny indeed. He should only know that his Own Private Idaho now includes hundreds and hundreds of blog readers...

Karen from Mentor said...

Glad you stopped in..
And I agree, but I doubt he'll ever see it...and Smoking Guy? If you read this and want to scold me about outing me and I'll buy you a beer....or whatever the cool folk are drinking these days...would that be a *Zima?* hee hee ho ho ho (that was out of line..sorry..) (but not a lot) and if any of you drink Zima out there? Don't. just saying.

Unknown said...

Too hilarious! Thanks for pointing this post out Karen :)