Sunday, August 13, 2006

Not in the city anymore

It's all quiet in the office and suddenly the new guy, who's been reading wire stories for most of the evening, suddenly exclaims, "Holy shit! Three thousand five hundred people?!"

I whip around to face him, thinking there might have been another terrorist attack somewhere, or perhaps an earthquake or a tsunami. "What? What's going on?"

"Three thousand five hundred people went to this county fair?" the new guy said. "That's a lot of people, I can't believe they all went."

He's from Long Island, where, according to him, that many people would never go to a county fair. Wait until someone tells him that those 3,500 people consumed more than 5,000 pounds of brisket at the county fair's annual barbecue cook-off.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


This is how I learned my grandparents' marriage was arranged:

I snuck into my grandfather's office with my brother, knocking over the stacks of paper piled around the room, peering under the table that held his old typewriter. We were looking for a love letter that my grandpa wrote to my grandma during World War II. I don't know what we were thinking. My grandpa is a pack rat, and there was hardly any walking space in his office. The whole floor was covered with stacks and stacks of paperwork and folders. We were knocking things over and haphazardly replacing them, not paying attention to whether we were putting them back on the same stack we'd knocked them off from.

My grandpa caught us and he was furious. He said we'd messed up his whole system of organization.

Later, my mom asked me what I'd been thinking, going in there and snooping around. I told her my best friend's grandmother had a box full of love letters from her grandpa written during World War II, and I wanted to find the letters my grandpa had written to my grandma.

That's when my mom told me their marriage had been arranged before my grandpa enlisted, that perhaps there were no love letters.

She didn't say that my grandparents didn't love each other, but that was what hung in the silence: They didn't choose each other, that's for sure.

Ironman memories

I'm watching the Ironman Triathalon on television. It's making me homesick, even though I remember how much of a pain it was to cover the triathalon when I worked for the newspaper there. How much the locals hated having all the streets closed off. The network is showing a lot of commercials designed to entice visitors. "The people of Hawaii want to share their islands with you," and blah, blah, blah.

It would just be nice, so nice, to stand beside the ocean right now. Take deep breaths and just be present in that moment.