Monday, February 9, 2015

Experiment to simulate seriousness

I had never seen her before.

We were in church. She sang with the choir, led the congregational singing and served me chapatis generously at lunchtime. 

As service ended in the afternoon, the choir sang again, and I stared at her and wondered how long I could keep my face straight while I made a joke which she would only realize was a joke at the last minute. Could I walk away looking earnest and serious, like one who made an honest mistake, or would I burst into premature laughter midway, like a malicious crime lord with a rolling laugh that he opened his mouth wide for? Well, since the thought alone already had me laughing in bursts, the prospects weren’t good.

Still it had to be tried.

Service ended. I waited until she was alone – her friends encircled her constantly, those coming replaced those leaving in a constant stream. Popular girl, what could I do? It seemed she would never be alone, therefore I turned my attention to others, lastly lost myself in the crowd among familiar faces. At some opportune time when she was the last thing on my mind, the crowd before me parted and behold, her, standing alone at last, apparently looking for someone.

The moment had come. I zeroed in with the straightest face I could muster. 

Offered a grim handshake. “Hello.”


“I know you, but you don’t know me.” Saying this revived the mental concept of my mischief and I broke into a wide smile.

“You know me?!” she repeated, in consternation, as if a new and grievous injustice had stormed against the universe by surprise. She looked perplexed. Fearful, even. I have that effect on strangers.

I geared towards the punchline. “Yeah! I even know your name.” At this point, the smile I had on, it was all I could do to not burst out laughing.

“You know my name!” she echoed.

“You are called Lupita, right?” Of course she wasn’t, but I tried to look serious, earnest, dead sure, a bit arrogantly, like one merely expecting confirmation, not correction.

She burst out laughing and walked away visibly amused.

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