don’t get the joke

Walking to the cinema I begin unpicking the wires of my headphones, trying to untangle them, make sense of their ends and loops.  Absently at times but stubbornly too, never giving in, I persevere as I walk, slowly growing more and more vexed.  On reaching the supermarket just before the cinema, I give up and stuff them back into a pocket again.

It’s a type of humour that I struggle with, that zany anarchic chaotic stoner humour often exported from the US, recently by Seth Rogen.  I can recognise that some elements are funny, appreciate why some laugh raucously, seemingly more stung by humour than reacting to a well-constructed joke.

But I can’t myself be moved in any way.  I am left confused and befuddled and feeling old, much as I was when I was at school.  So it was that I stared blankly at This Is The End, while others around me roared their approval.  It was quirky, the Hollywood A-Listers playing versions of themselves, an engaging enough idea.  But it soon descends into their indulgent riffing, playing around with a medium and their privileged access to it, simply because they could.  I leave about a third of the way in, diusgruntled, hot and as hayfevery as ever.  I can barely remember a time when my eyes didn’t sting and my nose didn’t run.

Stomping away from the theatre, distracted and irritated by my failure to compute the film, I pick out the headphones again.  At the bottom of one escalator I give the task my full attention, standing there for a full five minutes, picking out the tangles and unravelling the wires.

How the fuck does this take so long?

What is wrong with me?

Finally, eventually, I’m there.

I slot the one end into my iPod and hit play on some music.  The sound is unequal in different ears, thrown out, distorted, tangled like the wire itself.  Waggling at the port confirms that yes, the headphones at least, but perhaps even the iPod itself; something anyway, is broken.

Boiling frustration at my incessantly dripping hayfever, the heat, everything comes together.

Standing on the final escalator down towards the ground floor exit, I consider punching the already cracked screen of my iPod, squealing or growling or emitting some thing; a worthwhile representation of my frustration.

I don’t though.  I breathe and walk and sniff and feel all the worse for my suppression.


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