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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Know your audience

Right after Shabbat ended, I decided to go downstairs (after being stuck in my room on the 29th floor all afternoon), to listen to the piano player in the lobby (he's been with the hotel for years and is one of the highlights of my India trips).

On the way down, the elevator stopped, and a middle aged couple got on; the husband wearing a Saudi style white robe and red checkered headdress, and the wife wearing a full burka. The mesh over the woman's eyes was so thick that I couldn't tell if she noticed me, but the man gave my Kippah a good long stare before pointing his thick mustache resolutely towards the floor indicator on the front wall of the elevator.

The doors closed and we descended another few floors before we again stopped to take on passengers. This time it was a pretty, bejeweled woman wearing an elegant evening Saree (not an unusual sight at a 5 star hotel in India's largest, and most cosmopolitan city). She smiled at all of us as she swept into the elevator, and as far as I could tell, wasn't the least bit surprised at the multicultural nature of her fellow passengers.

I, on the other hand, was on the verge of wetting myself with the giggles.

The doors closed and we did that silent elevator thing where everyone tries not to breath too loudly, and looks studiously at the number indicator to try and make it go faster.

The elevator purred softly down another couple of floors and stopped again.

I wish I could tell you what possessed me, but I honestly don't know. Before the doors opened, I blurted out (it actually sounded like shouting in the confines of the stopped elevator), "I swear, if a priest gets in next, we totally have to take a group picture because nobody back home will ever believe me!"

Silence.

Needless to say, nobody laughed at my idiotic joke... not even a polite smile. Okay, I have no proof that Burka lady hadn't cracked a smile, but I'm a pretty good judge of body language, and even in her linen body bag I could tell she hadn't so much as twitched her nose.

The doors opened and an older Asian gentleman in a business suit got on (he must have wandered in from another joke), and found a place for himself in the now, unbelievably uncomfortable silence of the elevator interior... and remarkably, I didn't explode into flames from sheer embarrassment before we reached the lobby.

[sigh] I really need to count to ten before giving in to the temptation to grace strangers with my warped sense of humor. Or at very least, I need to learn to read an audience better.

[I was originally going to call this post 'Bombing in Bombay', but decided that going for a witty title wasn't worth giving my wife a heart attack.]

Posted by David Bogner on September 17, 2011 | Permalink

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I laughed till I cried!

Pity you didn't have time to extract some blood or remove a major organ, what with Yom Tov almost here et al.

Posted by: chairwoman | Sep 17, 2011 6:52:39 PM

Two words:
1) OY!
2) THANKS!

Posted by: zahava | Sep 17, 2011 7:41:22 PM

Two words:
1) OY!
2) THANKS!

Posted by: zahava | Sep 17, 2011 7:41:23 PM

:-)

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Sep 17, 2011 8:23:24 PM

So funny!!

Posted by: Shoshanna | Sep 17, 2011 8:58:46 PM

If I'd been on that elevator, I would have laughed till I cried.

Posted by: Maureen | Sep 17, 2011 9:22:25 PM

Like I said earlier, they probably werent intelligent enough to grasp the humor or just didn't know enough English....BTW, the funniest part in the entire incident was your description of the Asian man walking in :-)

Posted by: Sonal | Sep 17, 2011 10:21:40 PM

What you should have said to the Asian fellow: I'm sorry; you're in the wrong joke.

Treppenwitz

Posted by: antares | Sep 18, 2011 1:30:42 AM

LOL. Who cares if they didn't like the joke, we do!

Posted by: Mark | Sep 18, 2011 4:16:34 AM

Some people really don't have a sense of humor, but how would you know until you tried.

Posted by: Batya | Sep 18, 2011 7:03:01 AM

It reminded me of the opening to Naked Gun. http://youtu.be/3oEA6zK_8u8

Posted by: Jack@TheJackB | Sep 18, 2011 10:55:50 AM

It reminded me of the opening to Naked Gun. http://youtu.be/3oEA6zK_8u8

Posted by: Jack@TheJackB | Sep 18, 2011 10:55:51 AM

I'm picturing the scene so clearly and laughing away. :-). Haval you didn't take a picture anyway!

Posted by: anneinpt | Sep 18, 2011 12:53:13 PM

How did you know the Burka lady was middle aged?

Posted by: ZGanz | Sep 18, 2011 3:26:53 PM

"...he must have wandered in from another joke."
Thank you for making me laugh.

Posted by: Raizy | Sep 18, 2011 4:19:26 PM

"...he must have wandered in from another joke."
Thank you for making me laugh.

Posted by: Raizy | Sep 18, 2011 4:19:27 PM

Wow. You should see what the Saudi guy wrote on HIS blog. I'll send you the link when I find it.

Posted by: Baila | Sep 18, 2011 5:26:38 PM

ZGanz... I suppose she could have been a child bride under there, but I'm going by the age of her husband.

Posted by: Treppenwitz | Sep 18, 2011 5:30:43 PM

""I swear, if a priest gets in next, we totally have to take a group picture because nobody back home will ever believe me!""

I laughed until I stopped.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Sep 19, 2011 3:05:50 AM

Actually, I think the funniest part of the whole thing should have been the Saudi's reaction to the skin exposed by the Indian woman! Picture the two women - one shrouded to the point where you can't see her eyes, and the other in a sari, presumably with shoulder and midriff exposed!

Posted by: Iris | Sep 21, 2011 3:00:47 PM

Just imagine if someone passed gas. That would have been wrong on so many levels.

Posted by: Ari | Sep 21, 2011 8:58:18 PM

I'm so glad I bothered to go back and read the posts I missed while I've been away - totally worth it! This had me laughing right from you giggling!

I bet if she understood English, Burka Lady would have laughed her forbidden ass off.

Posted by: Alissa | Sep 25, 2011 5:40:30 PM

I'm so glad I bothered to go back and read the posts I missed while I've been away - totally worth it! This had me laughing right from you giggling!

I bet if she understood English, Burka Lady would have laughed her forbidden ass off.

Posted by: Alissa | Sep 25, 2011 5:40:37 PM

I'm so glad I bothered to go back and read the posts I missed while I've been away - totally worth it! This had me laughing right from you giggling!

I bet if she understood English, Burka Lady would have laughed her forbidden ass off.

Posted by: Alissa | Sep 25, 2011 5:40:37 PM

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