Love at first laugh

February 13, 2020

I remember the first time Carol made me laugh out loud. Not giggle. Not chuckle. Laugh out loud. We were PMing at the time, and she was recalling a bus trip she’d been on in Mallorca. I replied that I saw busses in our future. She wrote back, “Of course you see busses in our future; you don’t have a car.”

I call it her Yonkers humor, a more sophisticated branch of the Bronx Cheer or the Brooklyn Fuhgeddaboudit : a little less sarcasm, but still humor with a cut-to-the-chase punch to it. I loved it. I had found someone I could turn the burden of my self-deprecation over to. Share the load of disassembling, if you will.

But it’s not about being self-critical or self-denigrating. Carol gets the joke I aim at myself, and enjoys playing along. So, she would also say she does not want to join any club that would have me as a member. And she would advocate that if they ever reinstate the draft, she’d have me listed as 1H: in case of war, I’d be a hostage. If I told her I was a chicken, she wouldn’t have me committed, because, as she would insist, “I need the eggs.”

Carol inherently trusts my devotion, fidelity and loyalty to her on a daily basis. She can leave me on the couch for several hours of errands and visits, returning to see me right where she left me and remark lovingly,

“I’ll always know where you are.”

It’s been a remarkable journey in such a short period of time. All the people who said that we’re moving too fast, that we’re not thinking ahead and we’re not being realistic have all told Carol, “See, we told you.” But Carol has remained steadfast in her commitment to hitching her wagon to my star. “It’s always good to know what’s coming ahead of time,” she told me. And after I complimented her for her faith in me, she clarified her preference for a hurricane over an earthquake using the same reasoning.

When I suggested a few months ago that we go shopping for an engagement ring, Carol didn’t hesitate. When I suggested we apply for a marriage license and set a firm date, she immediately agreed. It occurs to me that she might have been expecting a punchline. Or that my proposal was the punchline. All I know for sure is that I’ve guaranteed that the laughs will continue -at least for me – until death do us part.

There’d been times in both our recent pasts as widows that the thought of ever laughing again was at best an aspiration, an act of faith that life goes on, is worthwhile, and that eventually we would smile and feel happy again. We didn’t really think that laughter and happiness would come in the shape of another person, though. That it has and has happened so soon for us after such tragedy as we’ve both experienced simply proves that life isn’t a cruel cosmic joke, but a belly laugh punchline that the lucky ones among us get.

Once, during one of our PM’s together, I mentioned how Carolyn and I had begun the same way, that is, via PM. “Oh, so you’re just cutting and pasting,” Carol replied. I was on a Seattle bus at the time, and I burst out laughing.

Busses certainly did turn out to be in our future.

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