One recent Friday afternoon during one of my free periods, I decided to do some marking in the staff room on account of the heat in my classroom. I was the only person in the staff room, as other teachers seemed to be either teaching, or spending their free periods in their own classrooms. The principal was in another village for a conference, and, with a teacher or two absent at the time, our already small student population was missing a good fraction (we often don’t have substitutes, so when a teacher is sick, the students don’t have school).
Needless to say, it was a quiet afternoon at the school.
Suddenly, I heard a snort of laughter that wasn’t quite stifled in time. It was coming from the office.
I continued marking, but did so with my ears peeled. It happened a few more times – each time, the person less successful at suppressing it. Shortly after, I heard the sound of a chair rolling, and the FM turned up – either in an attempt to hear better over their own laughter, or to cover up their laughter better. Whatever was so funny was entirely in Inuktitut.
Overhearing solo people laughing is awesome on a number of levels:
First, it’s awesome because it’s natural. When people laugh alone, it’s uninhibited once they overcome the initial urge to conceal it and allow themselves to dissolve into hysterics. Second, it’s cathartic. I didn’t even know what was so funny (and couldn’t anyway, seeing as my grasp on the Inuktitut language is essentially zilch), but the experience was still invigorating at the end of a long day and long week. And third, it’s contagious. I eventually had no choice but to make my presence known as both my curiosity about what was so funny, and my inability to stifle my own laughter grew too strong to hide in the staff room and eavesdrop in secret. This led to more laughter, and definitely made my day.