Friday, August 19, 2011

Involuntary Emotional Expression Disorder

Involuntary Emotional Expression Disorder, at least that's what it says when I look up "laughing at inappropriate times" on google.  And you know that if I found it via a google search, it must be fact.  So, it seems, our whole family is afflicted with IEED.  Today, we drive the rental car out to Trakošćan (pronounced Tra-KOH-shkahn), which is a 13th century fortress renovated into a Romantic-style castle in the 19th century.  It's a castle that really looks like a castle, if you know what I mean.  When we are trying to figure out how to pay for parking, we ask an elderly gentleman beside us, and he proceeds to answer for a good 3 or 4 minutes using dynamic vocal inflections but only the syllables "tibba-tibba-tibba-tibba-tibba."  I don't mean it sounds like "tibba-tibba-tibba-tibba" which would make sense, since we don't speak Croatian.  I mean it actually is "tibba-tibba-tibba-tibba" for several solid minutes.  By this point, we of course realize he has some sort of speech disorder, but we cannot extricate ourselves and must just wait for him to finish. 

Needless to say, we are all practically busting a gut trying to stifle our laughter, and now any time Anthony and I want to scold the children -- but not too severely -- we say "tibba-tibba-tibba" in a very stern tone of voice, and they both laugh and get the message.  Of course, "tibba-tibba-tibba" could be used in many occasions.  It's quite versatile. 

The castle is good and castle-y.  The girls are moderately interested, mostly in the fact that it's a castle, but less so in the interior exhibits.  Swords, armour, gory tales of past military glories -- all lost on our girly girls and, frankly, myself, and only Anthony really wants to stop and read all the placards.

There is a very steep hill up to it, since I suppose in those days one built something with an eye to a good vantage point and not the convenience of future tourists, some of whom would be pushing their 7 year-old daughter in a wheelchair after she twisted her ankle getting off the exercise bike in the hotel gym, because her father was not paying sufficient attention to her or to the signs that clearly stated no children under 16 were allowed on the equipment, thereby nearly ruining all vacation plans for the family, including for the mother who had put inordinate amounts of time into doing research and making reservations and was in no way to blame for the gym incident, and thereby inducing anger so profound she couldn't even speak to her children or husband for nearly 24 hours, and many times wished she could say, if only she were actually willing to speak to them, "tibba-tibba-tibba!"


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