Sometimes people just don't 'get' me. My sense of humour eludes them. Shortly after landing in the wheelchair, I was downtown with some friends going for a beer. The bar we habituate isn't accessible in that it has one step in and a flight of steps down to the bathroom. But that's where I wanted to go so we went. We managed me in and chatted like old times, with the exception that regulars kept coming over and asking me what was wrong with me and how long would I be confined to the chair.
When we left I was feeling the beer and was in a, um, playful mood. It had been nice being back to real life - out of the hospital and out with friends. We stopped at the corner and I waited as everyone else ran into 7-11 to pick up pop, snacks and smokes. As I waited a homeless youth approached me and asked for money. It was all the opportunity I needed. My warped sense of humour flew out of me.
"Man, you realize you just tried to panhandle a cripple for money, do you realize how far you've fallen?"
I thought that was really, really funny. But he burst into tears and flew off. "It was just a joke," I mused to myself, giggling at my own wit.
So, I've been careful with the 'cripple' thing ever since, not wanting to upset people unnecessarily. Until last night, that is. We went for a beer in the bar downstairs in the hotel and sat at the bar. We'd been cooped up in the car for 11 hours as we drove from Quebec City to Halifax - I was a bit stir crazy. We parked at the bar and the bartender approached and asked, "how are we tonight?" I said, "Well, I can't walk, but other than that, I'm good." He actually laughed. I was bouyed by my success with crip humour.
Above the bar was a huge screen playing sports. Another waiter came and stood beside me as he was rolling cutlery into napkins. He asked if we wanted to wager on the 'Memorial Cup' and I told him that I didn't even know what the 'Memorial Cup' memorialized. Then he laughed and told us that the game had been on earlier, he knew the results so he knew he'd win. I joked, "You were going to swindle a cripple? What kind of guy are you?"
He leveled his gaze at me and said, "Hey, hey, hey," long dramatic pause, "swindle is an awfully harsh word." And we both laughed.
I've decided that I like the maritimes. They don't take anything too seriously. I think this is going to be a fun trip.
I definitely think that if you are making a joke like that (with people who don't know you yet), you may want to be the first one to crack a smile or laugh, so the other person doesn't feel like they are being criticized.
I think that back in the day when I was a waitress, I'd give you a 'deer in the headlights' look to see how to respond, but now, I'd probably (try to) raise an eyebrow and half-smile. :-p
I suspect the homeless boy may have been reacting, not so much to the cripple joke, as to the reference to his being homeless. I don't know any homeless people personally (though I've occasionally met, or read blogs by, people who have been homeless in the past) but, although it wouldn't surprise me to find that some homeless people do have a sense of humor about it (people can find humor in pretty much anything), I would imagine that others just don't -- either because certain types of humor just isn't in their personality or because they just aren't ready to find it funny, whether generally or at that particular moment.
Sorry for the long run-on. Hope the gist was clear.
But it's great when you find people with whom your humor really clicks! My own humor is sometimes a little wacky, and with most people I have to hold back a little because I know they won't always get my particular brand of humor. So it was a relief when I had an office suitemate for a while there whose humor was similar enough to mine that we could both tease each other in certain ways that wouldn't work as well with other people!
I can tell, just from reading your blog (I've caught up with the whole thing now) that you have a HUGE sense of humor! I suspect you probably find something to laugh a really big laugh about every day. So I can see where it would be a nice relief for you to have a space where you don't have to hold back!
So you're smart and funny, ah...the perfect man! :)
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