Ozzfest 2005 was so much fun. Maybe a bit too much fun. By 8pm, I had a severe dehydration headache and decided it was time to go home. Day long music festivals just weren’t for me.

As I sat in the back of the stopped car, I started laughing uncontrollably. I was hysterical with reason.

It wasn’t funny.

Dallas 2005 was a whole lot of not fun. That year there was a report that showed in the city alone there had been over 600 unsolved homicides in a single year. Out of millions, that still seemed high. The statistic didn’t say how many were solved, but I’d heard the average is two out of three are solved. I wasn’t sure if it was incompetence by the police department or the nature of the city itself. I tried to stay indoors at night most of the time unless I was with friends.

I was with friends that night.

We’d just left the music festival and were about to jump on LBJ. We slowed to a stop at the red light and sat together chatting about something innocuous.

Less than a minute later, I was laughing.

Why am I laughing?

Hahaha “Don’t look.”

Ha Ha “Stop looking.”

HAHAHA “Just run the red light.”


I’d experienced fear only once before. When I got lost during a geology expedition in college. My coping mechanism then was to laugh. I didn’t realize it was the norm for me.


Three cars drove up into the lane beside us. As they stopped for the red light, two groups of people emerged from the front and last car and proceeded to pull the man in car two out. Kicking and beating him with their bare-fists.

Out of the four in our car, three heads turned to watch it unfold.

I shrank into my seat and pleaded my case.

When the men noticed three strangers watching them, they turned on us.

Just as they were starting to walk, the light finally turned green and we sped off.

I laughed until my hands stopped shaking. I laughed until we were on the highway, going 70mph. I laughed until I realized it was not funny and never would be.

Then I felt sick.

I turned to watch if they had followed us, but they probably wanted to be out of there as fast as possible.

I don’t know if the man in car two survived. I often wonder if he became one of those statistics, but for all I knew, he lived. I believed he did. He was moving when we left. He could have gotten in his car and driven off right after us.

In that moment, I was selfish. I went straight into flight mode. I didn’t look at a single one of them. Or think to get license plates or anything. I just thought about how I could get out of this very bad situation as fast as possible.



I realized only one thing that night. My terrified laughter is so not fun.





10 thoughts on “Hysterical

  1. How awful. I liked how you wrote about the experience, it was so real and frank. You did a good job getting to the point while balancing the setting. I feel for you. I once laughed uncontrollably at a funeral.


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