It’s happened to all of us. You’re out and about, minding your own business and you see or hear someone laughing. For a split second, you think, “That person is laughing at me.” Your mind whisks you back to high school, to a time when you were awkward and in need of validation and so overcome by insecurities that the only thing you were secure in was the knowledge that someone, somewhere was talking about you.
And then your adult self points out the foolishness of such thinking. And the ego. It would take a teenager –or a narcissist–to actually believe that someone was always talking about him, wouldn’t it?
But yesterday, I swear the woman on the bike, wearing sunglasses and standing on the corner of Union and Seventh Ave in Park Slope. I would have bet my life on it. I looked briefly. Then turned away. Then turned back. And yes, she was still laughing. In my general direction. From all the way across the street. “What the hell,” I thought. “She can’t actually be laughing at me.”
Then she said, “Oh my God. Look at Ken.”
Turns out it was my friend Maryann, who I hadn’t seen since last year. She WAS laughing. And pointing. And taking photos. This is what she was laughing at.