I have a rather low-grade sense of humor. I laugh at the most tasteless, immature stuff without too much shame. I have a habit of making rude comments at truly inappropriate times. One of the most common statements that newbies and strangers make in my presence is, “I can’t tell whether or not you’re kidding.” Neither can I. Second most common statement: “Man, you’re fucking weird.”
One of the silliest quirks I have, and there are plenty, is the ability to go from laughing to crying in a matter of moments, usually if the laughing and/or crying sounds and feels too much like the other. If you’ve ever been under severe stress you might know what I’m talking about. Additionally, if something just happens to hit the funny bone, especially if no one else knows what the hell I’m laughing about, I absolutely cannot stop. The embarassment makes it that much worse, giggling, turning red, eyes watering, trying to wave onlookers away from my insanity.
I thought about crying yesterday when the gas light lit up in the Jeep. I have barely driven anywhere in the last two weeks unless absolutely necessary, in part to save some money and in part to save some gas. I decided to park the car for the rest of the evening. But when evening rolled around, Ethan complaining about the lack of air conditioning because of Mama’s obsessive energy-saving, I decided we should run out to the gas station and get some gas and a slushie to avail his irritation.
I drove to the gas station a few blocks away but it was full, spilling a long line into the four-lane highway. Because I knew I was running on fumes, we decided to hit up another gas station a mile or two up the road. Regular unleaded was just above three dollars, which wasn’t too much of a difference than before the hurricane crisis, so I filled up the tank full well knowing I’d be paying more but not paying too much attention to the price.
I went inside and got a couple of large slushies and went up to the cashier to pay. “Pump eight and these,” I said, clunking the drinks onto the counter.
“That’ll be $59.88,” he said.
I tittered. “Are you kidding?”
The kid behind the counter, with the band shirt and lip ring trying way to hard at punk rock, smiled right along with me. “Nope.”
I slid him the gas card as another laugh-yelp slipped out of me. And then another. The man in line behind me chortled nervously. I covered my eyes in embarassment knowing what was about to happen. My shoulders were shaking, eyes watering, and I was desperately, unsuccessfully, holding back my laughter.
The cashier looked at me with a gaze that crossed amusement with a sniggering nervousness. “Most people that come in here get pissed off.”
“Fuck it. Not even worth it,” I snorted.
I grabbed the drinks and walked back to the car, still cracking up, wiping the tears running down my face with the back of my hand as fellow gas-buyers curiously gazed my way. I got into the car and had to blow my nose.
“Moooo-om,” Ethan said, “why are you crying?”
“Here, I got you a slushie.”