Stories and thoughts about family and life

Laughter is the best Medicine

on April 20, 2014

I had a crappy week a couple of weeks back. Every day presented some crazy challenge and I was being pulled in multiple directions, both professionally and personally. By the time Friday night had arrived and I had managed to cram four activities into a three-hour span of time, I was exhausted. Saturday was only a marginally slower pace, and I was so grateful to see my bed Saturday night. Sunday, though, that was a day to remember.

A friend of mine came into town and we made a little road trip to see another friend of ours. It was going to be a long day and she had already driven over two hours just to reach me. By the time our day was complete, I had been in the car seven hours and she had over 9. The remarkable thing? I didn’t really notice. We started the day with a couple of really funny situations which engaged us to really talk for the first 90 minutes of the trip, and it kind of just went on from there.

I hope everyone has a friend like this one. I’m blessed to have a couple of them, actually. Everything is funny to us. We see things from odd perspectives, and we’re able to imagine or improvise from there. All of my friends like this are not people I see every day, so it’s always like a little mini-vacation when I get to do this. It’s a great exercise for the mind, and it reminds me that laughter really is the best medicine.

As we were preparing to leave my house, I sat in the driveway and worked to pair my iPhone with my husband’s bluetooth in his car. My 11 year old has absolutely no problem completing this task in about. . . 11 seconds. I can’t be this person. I can’t be this middle-aged person who is losing my grasp on technology. Just a short time ago, I was the one who figured things like this out, who embraced getting all our phones to sync through home sharing and could talk my friends through many of their technological challenges. As I tried for the third time unsuccessfully, I began to sink into the world of knowing my kid is now rapidly becoming smarter than me. Thank goodness there’s not the perpetual VCR blinking “12:00:00” to remind me of it, but I need to face reality and I’m running in the technological slow lane here.

We were in such a hurry to leave that I just ushered my friend into the car and off we went. I hadn’t even given her the opportunity to visit the restroom before I announced our departure. She obligingly went along, and was grateful when I mentioned I’d like to stop at McDonald’s and grab a quick bite of breakfast. She decides to go in and use the restroom and I’m going to try one more time to pair my phone (I refuse to be beaten!).

I try another couple of times and finally succumb and call the house. Obviously the 11 year old expertise will be required here. When my husband answers the phone and I explain, he tells me he knows the problem. My husband is actually pretty brilliant that way. He is the IT person for our company, and he has always had a way with people on the phone. He can talk you through the screen you’re seeing, tell you what to click, and command to enter, and help you understand what you’re seeing. He does this better than most IT people, whom I’ve found tend to skip steps or get irritated if you don’t see the option to which they’re directing you, etc. Anyway, I’m so accustomed to this routine with him, that I slipped very easily into this mentoring mode with him and began to listen to his instruction. Normally, when he is offsite and he’s walking me through a problem on my computer, I’m following each step along with him and diligently following each instruction immediately. So, when he said “you’re going to need to reboot your phone,” I did.

It wasn’t until the call was gone that I realized exactly what I had done. I sat, staring at my phone in a mixture of disbelief and humor. I began laughing, and as our call reconnected I was laughing so hard I could barely tell him what I had done. He said he had thought I had gone through a dead zone, and that’s why he had lost me. I’m never gonna live this one down, either. It’s already been brought up several times.

As my friend got back in the car, I was again laughing hysterically. I couldn’t believe I had done such a silly thing. She had her only silly thing to share which had occurred while she was inside. And our trip began. We drove through the drive-thru, remarking at how distinctively “disinterested” the person was taking our order, and jobs and kids and a million other things over the next hundred or so miles. We found a small town which shares my name, and had to pull over and take a picture next to the sign. We stopped at a small-town bathroom, and laughed over the haphazard way the bathroom was thrown together and how the toilet was literally two inches away from the wall. We stopped in the next small town to get lunch before seeing our friend, and watched an older, kind of scary looking gentleman stand in front of us at Sonic and sing his heart out to us. I just smiled and rolled up the window, and we again laughed.

By the time we got to our friend, we had story upon story to tell him, and we were able to make him laugh too. He is in a bad place right now, in lots of ways. He is rather depressed, and not sure where his life is going to go moving forward. But for a couple of hours, none of that mattered. We shared stories from our younger years and laughed and laughed. By the time we got to the goings-on of our day and shared our laughter again, it was nearly time to go home.

You know, it’s funny. When I started out writing about this topic today, my original intent was that I had a horrible week and all this laughter helped me feel “right” again. But thinking about it now, and remembering our conversation on the way home, I’m drawn back to thinking about our friend and how much it helped him too. The next time he and I talked, that was the first thing he said. He had laughed so much that afternoon and it gave him so many positive things to reflect about that he was less depressed. Who doesn’t like a medicine you can share?


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