There was a character on the show, "That 70's Show," named Kitty Foreman [Debra Jo Rupp]. I will just assume you don't know who she is. She was the "matriarch" that watched over a group of teens that hung out with her son. Whenever she was happy, nervous, worried, extremely uncomfortable, or speechless, she would let out a high-pitched laugh. I can't help but relate her laughs to my bouts of laughter. I can't quite convey how it happens. I find the weirdest things funny. I find the placement of newspaper articles funny, I find color choices funny, I find bad jokes funny.
At my old job, I went out to lunch with five of my coworkers, and there were some really funny comments made. I laughed and giggled really loudly. While they all smiled and laughed briefly, I noticed that they did not find it as funny as I did. Instead of shutting up or fading off gracefully, I kept right on laughing till I turned red and was slightly gasping for breath. Granted, I am a weird enough character that they were pretty equanimous with my excessive laughing. Even so, I felt strange and out of place when it was done. I felt like a freak next to them.
Sometimes people will say, "Vanessa, you're funny" during a conversation or when I'm telling a story. They say it at times when I'm not trying to be funny and it's a bit unnerving because I'm not sure what they find amusing. During phone calls it's slightly different, a few friends ask why I just laughed or if I was laughing at them, and I try hard to explain that sometimes I just laugh and giggle to fill the silence. Sometimes they understand, but it has been the root of some hurt feelings.
Last night, while watching Rat Race with my sons, sister and her daughter, I laughed till I snorted and made the same high-pitched hyenaesque laugh that only happens when I find something EXTREMELY funny. I was with family, so it was okay. But my laughter actually made my sister laugh harder. *sighs*
It could be worse. When I was in high school I didn't laugh or smile at all. Perhaps do to my shyness, but mainly because I was depressed and withdrawn. I had no friends, and I did not have a chance to share my humorous and fun-loving side. But I enjoy myself at karaoke and have made a lot of very nice acquaintances at least. I'm pleased to call a lot of them my friends. I sometimes think they will find out one day that I am fraud. They will realize I'm really this shy awkward person and stop saying hi. I feel like they know I don't truly belong but they can't quite put their finger on why.
Then again, I think way too much on these things. They probably don't give a rat's ass what I do. They probably just think I am funny and "cute," and leave it at that.