Monday, December 4, 2006

Laughing Alone

I don't think this has ever happened to me before.  I was sitting in a theatre, watching a play, I heard a funny line, I laughed out loud -- and immediately noticed I was the only person laughing.

First time.  Honest.  I can understand why it rarely happens.  I'm generally a pretty quiet laugher.  In fact, usually, if I'm laughing out loud at a play, it isn't because the line struck me as so funny I just had to laugh -- it's more of that laughter that comes from the fact everyone around me is laughing, and the line seems funny enough, and hey, why not just add a little chuckle to the general audience response.  If something really is so funny and so unexpected that it actually compels audible laughter to burst forth from me, it has always been funny enough to get that same sound from at least some other people in the audience.

Not Saturday night.  I was seeing this play (the name of which I'll just keep to myself, 'cause it's based on a book, and to even begin to tell this right sort of spoils the book, and you might read it someday...) so, ok, here's the thing about the play:  it has an element of science fiction to it, but you don't really know that going in.  In fact, the science fictiony bit comes as something of a surprise, if you're not familiar with the book.  So, I mean, it isn't in the advertising or anything.  They aren't marketing this thing directly to science fiction geeks.

OK, here's me, in the theatre.  Seats about 50.  I'm there on the show's closing night -- right away I'm figuring a lot of people in the audience are friends and family of cast and crew.  Others are just folks who've come to see the show.  Everyone seems to be having a good time at the show -- laughing in the appropriate places.  Actually, I don't laugh once.  I smile a lot, but nothing is all that funny.

End of the play.  The science fictiony bit gets revealed and it turns out there's a time machine involved.  They're going to try to use the time machine to save the world (or whatever).  "They," in this case, refers to three guys:  the dude who owns the time machine; the protagonist who figured out he had a time machine; and the sidekick, who still isn't persuaded that the machine, in fact, travels through time.  Time Machine Owner and Protagonist start discussing exactly what they have to do in order to make the time machine do whatever it has to do to save the world.  Sidekick pipes in with:  "Can we reverse the polarity of the neutron flow through the flux capacitor?"

I am, instantly, beside myself with laughter.  Actually, the "through the flux capacitor" bit was totally gratuitous; they had me at "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow."  I start laughing.

I instantly stop laughing as I notice I'm the only one enjoying this.  I've silenced myself, but now I'm still shaking with the funny of it.  I stamp my foot a few times just to get it at all out and the play moves on to its conclusion.

I spend the rest of the evening wondering if I truly was the only science fiction geek in the audience.


memes121 said...

LOL, that was funny! Tammy

hewasolddog299 said...

Maybe the only one with enough of a Star Trek background to appreciate the ludicrous nature of the line...

We all have those moments where we find something funny, only to discover it has blown right past the rest of the audience. Revel in it -- you are unique.

Then again, it just might be a sign the doc needs to increase your Halcyon dosage...