I don't think it has an official name, so I've coined it "Inappropriate Reaction Disorder", or IRD. When I have an episode, it makes me seem like an inconsiderate jackass. It's real embarrassing. Because I'm totally not a jackass. Mostly. I sometimes wonder if it could be a mild form of turrets. Instead of shouting out swear words frequently and at grossly inappropriate times, my emotional reactions to certain situations are a little...off.
The mildest form is when someone cries in front of me. It would be fair to question whether or not I can hear or see what is happening as I immediately have no social skills whatsoever. I stand there gape-mouthed, eyes glazed and staring into oblivion like a complete idiot. I literally cannot form words. It is not that I don't care. It's not that AT ALL. I just enter a mental state that prohibits me from being able to respond in any way. Terribly inappropriate when a friend is in need of consolation. I apologize if you have experienced this. I truly am not a horrible person. No, really.
But the worst and most severe is when I witness someone fall. Before you judge me, you should know that neither my husband, my children, nor MYSELF can escape it. Everyone receives equal, socially abhorrent treatment. While I realize that laughing when someone falls isn't all that unusual, I think most people are able to pull it together long enough to ask someone if they are okay before they double over howling and snorting at the sight of their fallen comrade. Not this girl. I've tried holding it in, but it almost makes it worse because it then becomes one of those "don't laugh in church" situations where the hissing and chuckling through clenched teeth becomes a bigger scene than just letting it all out would have been.
WHEN IT HAPPENS TO OTHERS:
Once I was sitting in the HR office of my workplace discussing a change in insurance coverage. During our meeting, the woman I was speaking with needed to go ask about something. Upon getting up from her chair, the phone cord somehow got caught on her shoe. She took one step and the phone shot across her desk, sending all the papers, folders, family pictures, calendars, staplers, pens, pencils, and highlighters airborne. In her attempt to grab at various items, she tripped over her own foot and went tumbling forward. It was one of those times that everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. There were arms and legs flailing about amidst an explosion of office supplies. And I'm sitting in the chair across the room...motionless. I buried my face in my hands, but that didn't do much to cover up the vigorous shaking of my entire body in a fit of uncontrollable laughter. What an asshole, right? I completely agree. There is nothing I can do to prevent this from happening. After a few seconds of her lying stunned and face down on the floor (at least it was carpeted) I was able to pull my shit together and rush (okay...walk - I mean she was only 5 feet away for crying out loud) to her aid. Luckily she was fine - aside from the slightly bruised ego - but it was abundantly clear that I was not one of her favorites. If only I would have told her about my condition! Surely she would have been more understanding. At least she didn't have me fired.
WHEN IT HAPPENS TO ME
I used to run fairly frequently. I got burned out so I'm currently on sabbatical (I like to take those from virtually everything at some point or another. I think it's healthy.). When I run, I try to stay on the sidewalks whenever possible because drivers in general are maniacs and often completely oblivious to pedestrians, running or otherwise. The problem with running on sidewalks is that there is intermittent unevenness in the pavement. If you're not paying close attention, it is not difficult to catch a toe on the lip of the concrete and wipe out. That's exactly what happened to me. I didn't even know what had happened until I was face down on the concrete. And to make it worse, it happened on one of the busiest roads in town. It was a Saturday morning, so there were about a million cars zipping by to witness my performance. I sat up to get my bearings and assess my injuries. My analysis of the situation suggested I tripped, fell, and attempted to catch myself with my hands. But I instead skid about 5 feet across the sidewalk, hitting hands, then elbows, then stomach, then knees. Rip in each knee of pants. Blood running down knees and legs. Bottom of shirt ripped. Holes at elbow of sleeves. Gashes in the palm of each hand, complete with tiny rocks embedded in all of my wounds. I literally went ALL-THE-WAY down.
I picked myself up and what was left of my dignity and began to walk home. I was about 2 miles away at this point, and given that I was moving a little slower than Ferris Bueller's principal after he got his ass kicked by a teenage girl and a rottweiler, I estimated I could probably make it by nightfall. Then a nice woman in a Cadillac Escalade pulled up to ask if I was okay and wanted a lift home. (Seriously. Ten minutes had passed, along with at least 200 cars by now. I was a conspicuous mess on the side of the road. I mean a real spectacle...and she was the FIRST car to pull over? What the hell?)
Lady: "Are you...alright?"
Me: "Oh, yeah. I'm good. Juuuust out walkin'."
Lady: "Are you sure? You don't really look...alright."
Me: "Well, yeah. I just fell. So, I'm bleeding. But, I can make it. I don't live that far."
Lady: "Please. Let me drive you home. Kids, move over."
Since you can judge whether or not someone is going to murder you by what kind of car they drive and how many teenage cheerleaders are with them (God, can this get ANY more embarrassing) I hesitantly climbed in. Then the pain set in and I barely escaped puking in her $65,000 car. Best. day. ever.
When I got home, I told Charming what happened. In my retelling, I couldn't help but laugh hysterically at how ridiculous I must have looked. I barely got through my story because I found it so hilarious. Now that I think about it, that's probably why no one pulled over. They couldn't stop laughing long enough to offer assistance.
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