Gallows Humour **

# 1. Okay, so I’m sitting on the subway car, in Toronto, on my way to a meeting. It’s rush hour. It’s crowded. It’s the week from Hell. (Okay, the month from Hell. Hmmmm. The season from Hell??)

& the PA system is experiencing some kind of little meltdown. Everything it says, it says twice. Right in a row.

“Arriving at Yonge station,” it says. Then, “Arriving at Yonge station” ... right after it just said it the first time.

Departing Yonge station?  “Next station is Bay station.” Twice.

By the time I’ve sat on this bloody subway car (never at any time my very-very favourite place to be; I find subway rides rather intense, usually, & have learned to have a book to read so I can deal with the intensity) for, oh, 15 minutes or so, this repetition of the messages is fraying my nerves just a little. (I am not a regular meditator; oh how this would no doubt help me develop heroic amounts of equanimity for dealing with the Month From Hell & mere minor annoyances such as malfunctioning PA systems on subway cars. Note to self, note to self, note to self….).

Did I already say it’s been the Month From Hell? I did? Okay, okay.

So. I’m sitting there, trying my best to keep my fraying nerves under some kind of reasonable control (unlike my life, which has run wildly out of control; hell, even the new Word software I am using is wildly out of my control!?)

& this funny thought occurs to me:

“OMG. Someone on this subway car who is already really stressed out is going to Lose It if these bloody messages keep on repeating like this”

followed immediately by the even funnier, far more unsettling thought:

“OMG. The person who loses it & starts running madly up & down the subway car yelling incoherently & threatening mayhem?

May very well be me!

OMG! OMG OMG OMG.”

 

& maniacal laughter ensues.

(but only inside my head, of course. Outwardly I maintain my admirable sense of calm, merely smiling mildly to myself, apparently in response to the no-doubt terribly amusing book I am reading. Ha!)

# 2:

So, I’m sitting at a restaurant [last night] with my very long-time friend Barb.

& we’re sitting outside on the patio. & it’s October 29th okay? Um, not a time of year when one expects to be able to sit outside, on a restaurant patio in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, okay? Two days previously we were warned it was going to snow (& it did snow, up in Barrie; poor old Barrie…)

& I spot an actual mosquito! Outside, on October 29th.

(Can you say “OMG the planetary climate is f**ked; whoa. Whoa, whoa whoa…………)

So, then, we’re contemplating the not-so-far-off month of December (vis-à-vis some rather important plans being made for that month), & I say “Oh dear. December is sooooo not my very finest month, you know?”

(I am surely not alone in this regard??)

& Barb says “Well, November is nothing to write home about, as far as that goes, is it?”

& I go “Yeah. & I always say January sucks, & well, February sucks even worse than January, & March sucks pretty much too, & apparently a lot of really awful things happen in April (mass killings, that kind of thing) ... so I’ve been told”

& then I say “Whoa, Barb – we just wrote off the next six months!”

& she replies “Yeah, well it’s time we got a move on. Time for the movie! The one about a plane crash!”

... & I burst into uproarious, hysterical laughter

& laugh so hard, & so long

there are soon tears running down my cheeks.

 

& about all I can say by way of conclusion, now, is

“Thank Goddess for gallows humour! & friends!!"

Janet

** those of us who believe that “near-term human extinction” (or NTHE, or NTE: near-term extinction) is nipping pretty closely at our heels, as I do, & have for some time now (& have written quite a bit about, on my previous blog site, not that I can access or link anyone to any of it now, I can’t; how pathetic is that, eh??) – well, we have to find our laughs these daze where we can, is it not so?? I know it is not “polite” to talk about the possible imminent extinction of our species – & I suppose I will just have to make very belated peace with the possibility that some folks will perceive me as “not polite” – though I was certainly taught (& pretty forcefully!) my “pleases and thank-you’s” as a child.

p.s. Those of us who “accept” NTE are fond of saying “Only love remains.” Look up Guy McPherson (his blog is Nature Bats Last, & once I learn how to do linking on this new site, I will for sure in future make sure to include links!! Did I already mention it’s been the Month From Hell?? No time for learning what I really need desperately to learn to make this new site “work”) & you will find references to the suggestion that “Only love remains” – & I am inclined to agree with Guy McPherson, that that is indeed all that really remains – love, & kindness, & compassion – & hopefully, occasional lashings of “gallows humour” – since otherwise, we are all liable to lose our minds, & our equanimity, & go behaving like maniacs on subway cars in our very very busy & much-too-crowded cities. Let us please all try our very very best not to do that!!!! Me too, me too, I promise, I promise!!

p.p.s. A quote that springs to mind:

Tom Robbins http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Robbins on “crazy wisdom”: “Crazy wisdom is the wisdom that evolves when one, while refusing to avert one’s gaze from the sorrows and injustices of the world, insists on joy in spite of everything. Ancient Egyptians believed that when a person died, the gods immediately placed his or her heart in one pan of a set of scales. In the other pan was a feather. If there was imbalance, if the heart of the deceased weighed more than the feather, he or she was denied admittance to the afterworld. Only the lighthearted were deemed advanced enough to merit immortality.”

p.p.p.s. McPherson suggests that there is a 7th stage to add to the Kubler-Ross stages of grief (again; in future, once life calms down a little (???), convenient links will be provided, & also, umlauts where appropriate; did I mention that Word has gone wonky on me??); namely, gallows humour.

I offer this lovely graphic (a bit of a non-sequitur, I realize), which speaks eloquently to me, at least, about the “neatness” (or lack thereof) of grief. My own is approximately as messy as this graphic suggests. My apartment, too, &, um, lately, my life, but then ... those are other matters altogether…