We burst into laughter, like we had done so many times before. Mary high-fived Kate, Kevin cackled like a witch, Bob bobbed up and down and I…did what I usually do, I faked a boisterous laugh. Ian faked modesty as though he had not just cracked the funniest joke ever. He was a funny man this one, in every sense. He usually wore suspenders with every outfit! Suspenders with choir robes, suspenders with farming gear, suspenders with pyjamas, suspenders with suspenders! One day, he came dressed in a jumpsuit for a work dinner and guess what else? Okay, I know you might not be able to guess right, so I’ll reveal the depths of this mystery as well – with suspenders! Whenever other people leave their homes, they pack what they need for their day; some pack smiles, but not Ian. Suspenders are his thing. He wears them with such religious devotion, a monk would have to take notes. I always suspected that he derived a certain comfort in life from knowing that in his dressing he did not conform, which is funny because he was quite the conformist. He adjusted his glasses, tagged at his suspenders as though they held the secret to his timely punch lines and then began to talk
‘So, this girl walked into a mall…’
I zoned out, not because I do not enjoy his humor, I do, but because sometimes, I cannot help it. I cannot help but look at life from my own eyes, particularly when it is most inappropriate. I cannot help but want to capture every small moment so that I can preserve it for reference’s sake; for such a time when the future is bleak so that I can draw comfort in the knowledge of a better life once lived. I wonder for a while what people did before cameras because I cannot fathom not being able to come back to this moment in time. I doubt that brains can recall as much of these events with razor-sharp precision…so don’t cameras, but they are comfortably close.
I come back in time to hear my friends burst into uncontrollable laughter. I know Ian has just delivered his dose of humor, and as usual, he ascends the pedestal and guzzles the praise of his peers, because in that moment, he is not just Ian, he is invincible, a god.
I smile politely towards Kate who seems to have abandoned all self-consciousness, to accord proper praise to her humorous genius whom she had always admired, even mentored by. I have the sudden urge to stop time and look as her beauty radiates with stronger beams when her confidence is at its peak. She catches my eye and shies off. I whisper ‘happy birthday’. My timing couldn’t have been worse, I have interrupted Ian’s moment and he is now trying to draw back attention to himself as if it were his day. He echoes me loudly ‘Happy birthday Kate’, in his theatrical voice and it works better than he anticipated, judging by his look that had a good blend of being surprised and being impressed…at himself. It appears that he had not prepared his punch line. He proposes that he takes a photo and each of us poses, trying to look cool if only to improve this moment of awkwardness. Ian takes a selfie!
Your cell phone has already replaced your camera, calendar and alarm clock which is all good. Don’t let it replace your friends and family.