Thursday, September 07, 2006

Breaking like a firecracker

And love won't play any games with you
Anymore if you want it to
So we better shake this old thing out the door
I'll always be thinkin' of you
--- Ryan Adams, "New York, New York"

My father went off to New York today, just as my mother got a tremendous back sprain. It's nothing chronic, but the pain is severe. I turned down social invitations from the Friar (regretfully) and the beautiful Waitress T (extremely regretfully), staying home so as to be on hand in case the ailing mater needed help.


A few days ago, my father and I were in the new Kia. There's a rather extensive array of switches, lights and controls on the car's dashboard, steering wheel and roof. My father looked around at all of it. "I really should figure out what all these are," he said.

I opened the glove compartment. "The manual here will tell us---"

He slammed it shut. "I never read that shit," he said dismissively.

He's a man of many contradictions.

Later, he told me this story. He was talking to a Lebanese woman at the dry cleaner's, and mentioned that he was going to New York for a few months.

"What you going to do there?" she asked.

"I'll be working at the United Nations," he said.

"United Nations, what that?"

"Well, it's..." He groped for words, temporarily stymied by the dearth of expressions in the language to adequately express his consternation. "Look, it's... It's just the United Nations!"

"That some kinda bank?"

[Cue incredulous sputtering from my father.]

So, in conclusion, it's not only Americans who can be ignorant of world affairs.

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