Friday, June 26, 2009

In Which I Probably Shouldn't Laugh

Just across the fence that borders the parking lot outside our apartment is a day care facility. Back when I used to live in this town growing up, the building housed a commercial embroidery shop. From the outside it doesn't look like it'd be very conducive to a day care, with drab metal siding and concrete loading ramps, but they must have done wonders on the inside.

Through my office windows on the third floor, I can see over the fence. A cluster of thinning pine trees shield the backyard, but from my height I get a partially obstructed view of the play area. From what I can see, though, it looks just like any other day care I've ever seen, where Fisher Price playsets, Tonka trucks and Barbie dolls reign supreme. When the windows to my office are open, as they usually are when I am working, the sounds of the children playing next door filter in. It mostly is nonsensical noise to me, and for the most part, I tune it out.

There are times, though, when the cacophony of high-pitched voices is suddenly halted in unison. Sudden and absolute silence at a noisy day care usually means one thing:

Someone got hurt.

A heavy pause lingers on the air for a couple moments as the injured child comes to realize exactly what has happened, and slowly registers the pain. The child takes a huge, gulping inward breath, and then, like an air raid siren, the screaming begins.

The scream is pure and unabashed, the pitch and volume just short of the levels one would need reach to break glass. Next you hear the slapping footfalls of the caretakers running to the child, but their soothing tones and "Shh"-ing do nothing to console him. One can just imagine the tears running down his face, making lines in the dust that has collected there. And then, as the other children around him inch in closer and start to mumble amongst themselves, another noise is heard.

It's me, laughing my fucking ass off.

I know, I know. I probably shouldn't laugh at some innocent little kid getting hurt on the playground, but I just can't help it. It reminds me of when I was as a kid, always running full-steam-ahead, usually stopping for nothing until the inevitable trip and fall. I wailed many times over a scraped knee, elbow, or skinned palm.

It wasn't funny back then, but I sure get a kick out of it now.


GeekByMarriage said...

Wow you ARE a bastard.

J/K I laugh at my kids when they are running and bounce off of things.

Jenn(ifer) said...

Ohh... how I cannot wait for the day to come when you become a parent!

When that precious child of yours gets a shot for the first time and lets out that huge scream and you're crying just as bad, if not worse.
When they come home crying from scraped knees and your heart is aching too.

You'll look back and cuss out the Karma Fairy for being such a bitch to you on days like these.

Then the day will come when you start saying "get up and brush it off! You're fine!" the Karma Fairy flies away ;-)

Employee No. 3699 said...

I won't be as harsh. If you can laugh at yourself for getting a peper cut on your balls, you get to laugh at the kid on the playground.

Lola said...

Ahh, sometimes it is funny. I laugh at my own kid if it's a particularly spectacular incident, like when he flipped his big wheel over, went airborne and landed in a prickly bush. It was hilarious!!!

Then I jump into my "You're fine" mode so that he doesn't carry on forever. Then he gets the hugs and the sympathy.

He gets his revenge, though, on the mountains when he sees me pull off some spectacular crashes and he just skiis right on by or sprays snow in my face as he stops to see if I'm alive.

Aunt Becky said...

You're going to hell...

...with me.

Nej said...

I love watching kids fall down and get hurt....not because I like to see them hurt....but because I like to watch their behaviors.

I love watching them fall...then look around to see if anyone is looking.

If no one's there, it's business as usual....but if there's an audience...look out!!!! Let the screaming begin! :-)

Children of the Nineties said...

It's not the incident itself I ever find sort of funny, it's that terrible pause between the full-speed-ahead-collision and the inevitable screaming. There's always that silence, and then the loudest noise you've ever heard.

for the love of pictures said...

I agree with Employee No. 3699 - if you can laugh about that, then you can laugh about this :)

just me said...

That nanosecond before they get enough air to scream is always the worst.

lovelila said...

I like to predict how many seconds it takes for the screaming to actually start. OH! THIS REMINDS ME! I hit a kid with my bike once... it wasn't funny at the time because the kids ENTIRE FAMILY was around, but 1) I didn't hit him that hard and 2) the time between me actually hitting him and him starting to cry was torture... so awkward... I'll have to write about it in my blog one day. I laugh about it now, I can't help it. Maybe because it was obvious that the kid was fine. It was just awkward for ME. Ugh.

Laura said...

You are bad! But I have to admit... your post made me laugh. It will be interesting how different you feel when it's your kiddo though!

Roberto said...


*high five*

Glad to see I'm not the only one who does this.

My first instinct is to laugh, no matter what age the person happens to be.

BeautifulWreck said...

tsk tsk... the shame of it all...

sometimes its hard for me not to laugh. and i am their mother.

Maggie May said...

I teach preschool and 'inappropriate laughter' is a key phrase between my coworkers and I :)

Badass Geek said...

Geek By Marriage: How can one NOT laugh?

Jenn(ifer): I think I'll still laugh about it, just after the bandaids have been applied.

Employee No 3699: Seems like a fair trade to me.

Lola: Airborne over the Big Wheel? Hilarious.

Aunt Becky: I'll save you a seat.


COTN: It is the silence that kills me. I cannot help it.

FTLOP: It does seem fair that way, doesn't it?

Just Me: It's the BEST.

Lole Lila: You hit a kid with your bike? That is comedy gold.

Laura: Maybe. I still think I'll laugh, when I'm behind closed doors later.

Roberto: Lots of people laugh about this, whether they admit it or not.

Beautiful Wreck: I won't hold it against you.

Maggie May: God. I'd be laughing all the time.

Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim said...

I laugh at my son when he is doing stupid stuff that I told him not to and he gets hurt.

Although the boy fell flat on his face at outside while at daycare. He scraped up his chin and it looked painful. He didn't yell or anything because I wans't around.

Moonspun said...

witnessing a kid running full speed where their head is moving too far ahead of their feet is funny. Because you know what's going to happen and really, even as a parent, you can't stop it. Even if you say slowdown, most often they don't hear you or understand that physics is not on their side...they will fall.

mrssoup said...

Straight to hell.

Aunt Becky will bring the Vodka. I got the comfortable cushions for the handbasket....

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