Tuesday, July 15, 2008

sources of happiness

Two of the keys to making life's insanity not drive me insane:
1) beauty.

2) laughing.

Sometimes, when you are, say, stuck in places where neither of these two things are abundant, I am made very very deeply thankful for photographs I have taken while traveling, being with friends, or doing nothing in particular but in a beautiful or picturesque place. Take, for example, these pictures from a trip to Italy.

I would not necessarily remember this just off the top of my head, but this was one of those moments of utter beauty and a source for many laughs. On an international flight, I was sitting next to a nice-looking Algerian business man in his mid thirties, who encouraged me regularly throughout the flight to sleep on his shoulder. While I did not take him up on his offer, nor did I remotely consider it, it certainly made the flight a good story. And if he hadn't been next to me, and mentioned taking a picture of this sunrise over the Atlantic, I probably would not have bothered to pull out my camera and keep this beautiful, beautiful image to be able to stare at in the future. I don't know what it is in our human brains that makes things like sunrises and sunsets-- things that happen EVERY SINGLE DAY, from the beginning of time to the end of it-- so breathtakingly beautiful. Why can such a commonplace occurance give us chills, and make us want to just sit still and stare? Such mysterious fascination with what could easily be commonplace beauty, or really the concept of beauty beyond the function of procreation, is one of those things that sets me up to never really give up belief in God no matter how far I might have wandered at a given moment. It's something that makes me want to pray.

Now, laughter, and general hilarity (I don't say humor because that just makes me think Jokes, though Jokes can be a good part of it), is of course the proverbial "best medicine," which I don't usually realize until I have a really good laugh with someone. I get so much satisfaction out of making other people laugh that I devote a lot of energy to that, and when someone else makes me laugh hard enough to nearly pee in my pants at 22, I'm always a little bit taken off guard. I always want to take pictures of funny things, too, so I can share them with other people. Laughter is one of those things that is certainly best shared, and so much more difficult when one is alone. I rarely laugh aloud when I'm not with other people. Recently I did while reading icanhascheezburger.com, which I didn't really expect, but sometimes things are just too funny.
But I take a lot of pictures of things when I wish I could share the moment with someone and share the laugh. Like this:

This was the menu ad outside the McDonalds in Venice. I had already cracked up over one in France when I first arrived in Monpellier, featuring summer sandwich specials: the McFarmer, McTimber, and McSummer. But for some reason, the McToast (which appears to have cheese and a slice of salami...) and the Crispy McBacon are just... I don't even know why these things are so funny. Do you?

1 comment:

mamie said...

If you love to laugh heartily you are very fortunate, because your father is one of the funniest people I know. Really. And when he and Durham get together? Watch out, because SOMEBODY (probably one of us old women) is going to wet her pants!!

Hope you're finding lots of beauty and laughter to keep going right now. Love you