A tidbit from my weekly shopping expedition.
I was in the pet shop, getting tchatchkis for Ms. Furry Furball. As I was waiting for the cashier to ring up my purchases, there was a boy playing with a dog toy. The toy emitted an obscene and annoying sound, as the boy squeezed the toy at least a dozen times.
Since the sound was so bizarre, I kept laughing. And while the cashier rang up my purchases, he rolled his eyes. I said "That sound could get annoying" and laughed again.
After he finished up with me, a woman came into line behind me. Inexplicably, the cashier walked away with my receipt. So I stood there waiting for him to return. It was during this minute or so that the woman spoke to me:
"You laugh a lot".
I realised that she was offended and I tried to figure out why. Then it occurred to me that perhaps the boy was her son, and she didn't like that I had been laughing. So I said "The toy makes a funny sound" and laughed a bit again. She hadn't taken the bait.
"It's funny to you?"
At which point I had the seichel to just ignore her.
What I found interesting about the entire exchange is that she was so offended. How could she interpret my laughing as an affront to her son? It seemed bizarre. But even more to the point, it was obvious that she is so miserable that she deemed me a nutcase because I could laugh at something so simple as a dog toy.
It occurred to me then that people in New York don't laugh. In my hometown, people laugh a lot. I suppose it's part of our mentality; you laugh off all the absurdities that come at you in life versus getting all tied up in a knot. Evidently Ms. Pet Shop hadn't learned that skill yet. And how sad for her.