I placed the groceries on the belt and waited for the guy ahead of me to pay up.
"How are you?" I asked the checkout clerk as I moved up the line.
Not often do I end up at her lane because my shopping times rarely match up with her shift. But, when I do, she always chats with me, continuing with where we left off. Until the last time, she had apparently been under the impression that I was a writer for the local paper. "How come you I don't see you in the paper these days?" she asked me. I told her I was busy with the teaching work.
She was shocked. "All these years I read your stuff, I talk with you, and I had no idea you are a teacher! Where do you teach?"
I told her. She was even more shocked.
I remember her stories and she does mine. Not all checkout lane conversations are meaningless small-talk. No surprise, therefore, that she continued with where we left off.
"So, what do you do in the summer ... do you starve?" she asked with a chuckle. "You teachers are off during the summer, right, and you don't get paid?"
I was so happy that there was at least this one person outside the academic world who was familiar with how teachers operate only on a nine-month contract. The unpaid summer furlough, as I joke about the "time off."
"You are right. We don't get paid for the summer."
But then, it's me--so, of course, I had to joke.
"No starving. I eat only bananas all summer."
We both laughed.
Life's alright when we laugh.
When we are able to laugh.
While we can cry all by ourselves and the world would not think that to be strange, we can't laugh sitting by ourselves.
Laughter requires at least one other human.
Laughter is an emotion that makes us human.
Laugh with me.