On the 1 train coming home from work today, I burst out laughing. I had just read a very funny passage in The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs and it literally made me laugh out loud.
At which point, I realized something fascinating.
Nobody laughs on the subway.
That sounds like the title of a book, which is why I have trademarked it. Nobody Laughs On The Subway™ is my own discovery. No one will take it from me. The subway, you see, is a joyless place. Panhandlers, crying children, wailing babes and irritated commuters galore exist. Overloud music that spills out of adjacent people's (or in bad cases, even those across the car) earbuds and earphones adds to the atmosphere. So do the conductors, who can at times be extremely amusing (think today, with the man who hollered 'Y'all gonna just stand there or are you gonna stand clear of the closing doors?') But there is no laughter. None.
It was only once I laughed that I realized how the sound of unbridled joy disturbed the hush of the otherwise air-conditioned air whose silence is disturbed only by automated voices and dirty looks.
And so I have come up with a brilliant initiative. It is so brilliant that Improv Everywhere should have thought of it.
The idea is to spread joy on the subway. In short, to laugh. Not just smile but laugh! Infect fellow subway goers with cheer. Make people's lives happy!
And we can have laughter sightings on the subway!