There’s something bothersome if not oppressive about listening to three or four women sitting in the apartment next door as they laugh uproariously about anything and everything….”hah-hah-hah-hah-hah!” We’re talking one shrieking, gut-busting laugh after another, almost as if their lives depend on meeting a strict requirement that everything they say or think or hear must be wildly hilarious.

Oh God, that’s so funny….aaaaah-hah-hah-hah-hah!….noooohh! Hah-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah! Hyper-cranked! That’s funnier than what we just laughed about five minutes ago! No, no, wait….THAT’s funnier still! Why does it sound like anxiety laughter on some level, or panic laughter? Hah-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah!

After a half-hour of this I could just scream. Or shoot heroin into my veins. Okay, not really but you get the drift.

I had the same reaction while sitting in a press lounge at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Here’s what I wrote:

“A little part of me — okay, one that I don’t admire and probably shouldn’t acknowledge — wants to go up to one of these groups, bend over and say in a very quiet voice, ‘I’m sorry, guys, it’s obviously none of my business…but did you know that the stuff you say in conversation doesn’t always have to be funny? And that you don’t have to laugh uproariously all the time? You can just sit there and chill down and be heavy-cat Zen types. You could even be silent for a bit and read about the jet that splashed into the Hudson yesterday. Oh, I’m sorry — not funny enough, right?”