How & Where & Why We Laugh

How & Where & Why We Laugh

A wistful gleam of light pours onto my pale face, bags like fake Prada clutches sit under my eyes and my hair is swept in a ponytail. I've decided to put on my makeup at work to save time, sanity, and immerse myself in an extra two minutes of sleep.

I raise my black eyeliner to my right eye. As I drag the pencil across the lid, a dab of black crayon-like substance sticks to my eyeball. I calmly remove it (a feat that took many moons and mountains to conquer throughout my youth) and held the black dot on my finger.

Now, mentally, this is the part where I told myself to smear it on my shirt, seeing as it was a deep maroon color and no one would see it. But instead, my finger aimed for the top of my pants. My pants. My white pants, white as snow, fairest of them all. 

I look down. A black streak on my upper thigh. What.


I attempt to wipe the catastrophic smudge away in a swift motion with the grace and agility of a ballerina extra in Black Swan and remove the smudge completely, foreseeing a path as decedent and pristine as my spotless pants. But I screwed it up; I smeared the whole damn thing on my upper thigh, and when I went to wash it, my pants became see-through. It was like a wet T-shirt party, but with a smudged black stain on my white pants and no one was black out drunk. 

Now the irony in this whole situation is that I was standing in a bathroom when the Eyeliner Incident of 2016 took place. An actual restroom. Quite literally, I could have wiped the eyeliner on anything else that would not have affected my white pants. Paper towel, toilet paper, edge of the sink, etc. As I regaled the story to my boyfriend in unnecessarily close detail, he suggested I could have even washed it in the toilet water if matters were that desperate. This is true. But instead, I aimed for my pants. 

And in this moment, at 8:30 am, I laughed out loud in the bathroom, which is generally not a good thing to hear from an outside perspective.

And as the water made my pants disappear, I laughed even harder because the stain kept growing and growing. It was an erosion of Sephora, Joe Fresh jeans, and my last shred of dignity. I couldn't stop laughing.

For some reason at 22 years old, this is the time in my life when I laugh the most at myself. Frantically saving a coffee from falling off of the tray, or watching coffee from my high school mug leak through a paper bag and then the mug breaking open on the sidewalk. Listening to Kanye at an inconsiderately loud volume to stay awake on the train and giggling at Alec Baldwin’s “Here’s the Thing” podcast on the train because he is a glorious human who makes me want to sit down and watch 30 Rock at any given time of day. Looking at a corgi pass me on the street and then Googling corgis throughout the remaining hours of the day.

It's not that I suddenly find myself hilarious; rather, it’s that I'm in a constant state of being amused and surprised and angry and excited. I am in the continuous mindset of being unsure of my future, anxious about the present, and a bit reflective of the past. I am so grateful to have a job now and wonder where it will lead me, where my writing will go, and what places I can travel to next. And I wonder how I’m handling all this, if I’m doing okay, and what does everyone else do when you’re 22 years old and are introduced to a world so new, terrifying, and riveting all at the same time?

So I just laugh. Sometimes out loud.

Almost everyday a friend and I discuss how we have no idea what we're doing, what our five year plans are, if there even is a five year plan, or whether or not I should buy more storage for my iCloud because that’s a thing I need to take care of. It can be unbelievably overwhelming and terrifying and make you want to crawl under the covers and ask people to endorse you on LinkedIn for sleeping and avoiding problems. 

It's tiring, confusing, draining, and honestly so funny. Why is it so funny? Why do I keep laughing? (It’s like when Michael Scott forgot about Scott’s Tots and Stanley laughed so hard he cried. It’s like that, but continuing for several months and so far no commercial break.)

Maybe it's that I wiped black eyeliner on my white pants and proceeded to give less attention to my left leg for the rest of the day. And no one noticed. Or maybe they did and it was too funny to say out loud. 

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