all i wanted to do today was write a short little something about mike that wasn't sad. something happy and funny and not sad or mournful in any way.
but nothing was coming.
i went to bed and told myself something would come--only to end up tossing and turning and not being able to sleep. i got up at about 3, came into the office. nothing. for inspiration, i opened up the files of the story ideas mike and i had hoped to one day get to work on. zip.
i went back to bed at about 5:45, feeling defeated.
i just read matt's...
go read it.
great story, matt!
and thank you--'cause YOU inspired me.
did i tell you this before...?
in january of 2000, while mike and i were in france for the french debut of tellos at the angouleme festival international de la bande dessinée (comics convention), we were fortunate enough to enjoy a trip on the super-fast bullet train (speeds close to 300 miles per hour) which took us from paris to the show in the bordeaux region. though the train emitted a constant hum due to the speeds it was traveling--with the occasional BOOOOM! of compressed air when the train passed another bullet going in the opposite direction (the first time this had happened, mike had been dozing a bit with his head against the window. woke him up fast.)--after a fashion, everyone else on the train had settled into and almost ghostly silence. most were reading. there were a few people having conversations like us, but they seemed to do this almost by reading lips. and even though we were barely whispering, we were acutely aware that we were talking the loudest. and imagining that we were being rude. ugly americans.
a short time later, in one of the seats/booths catty-corner to our seat, a family was also making the trip; mom, dad, grandma and grandpa--and a little boy of about 6 or 7 sitting between his grandparents and quietly working on a coloring book on the narrow table between him and his parents. he was wearing a small walkman or discman or something. mike and i noticed him because, every once in a while, he would hum a bit of whatever he was listening too under his breath.
and then, he started to sing.
at the top of his voice.
the spell broken, the whole car came to life as every passenger snapped his or her head around to see where the noise was coming from. the parents and grandparents quickly shushed the little boy who, himself was surprised by the sudden attention from his parents. "pourquoi?" he yelled at them before they could get him to take his headphones off. mike and i had to pound one another in the arm to keep from laughing out loud.
the parents quietly explained to the little boy that he could not sing with his walkman on the train, he said, okay, and the train fell back into it's mesmerizing trance.
until he started singing again.
once again, everyone looked around, some wearing expressions of frustration or even distaste. mike punched me in the mouth to keep me quiet. i stabbed him in the thigh with a sharpie. cap on.
the boy was once again, wide-eyed and apologetic, his six-year-old innocence buying him another chance. with a nod of understanding and agreement, he put the headphones back on and got back to work coloring.
so when he started singing that third time, we just couldn't hold it in any longer. sure, fewer people turned around--they knew now that there was a decidedly uncouth little boy back there whom his parents could not control--but they snapped around even quicker when mike and i broke. we just couldn't hold it in any longer and we broke like dams, bellowing out our laughter, mike with that pure, uncontrollable, honest laugh. the ugly americans were embarrassing themselves now more than they could've ever imagined.
and, of course, didn't care.
but really--we just broke the seal. 'cause once we just let it out, the entire car--well, maybe not the entire car, but definitely our area--let loose, filling the car with laughter and finding the little boy, and the whole situation, quite funny indeed! and maybe, probably, they were laughing at us too--or maybe they needed us to break the ice--or i don't know...
i just know that it struck the two of us so funny that we laughed for a good long time and were wiping tears from our eyes before we were through.
miss ya, mike.
thanks again, matt.
smell ya later!