Monday, August 2, 2010

A True American Hero

Every Wednesday we go to lunch and get sushi and 2 martinis for UCC. All attempts to maintain a volley of conversational exchanges with DOB bounce off her like a tennis ball tossed at a brick wall, but without leaving a tiny tennis-ball scuff. During a single lunch, she will ask what is on various plates 4 or 5 times for each item. She has a short term memory like a leaking boat and you can’t bale fast enough to keep from slowly melting into the surface of the placid lake, leaving no imprint except ephemeral expanding ripples, soon gone. Here’s a sample:
UCC: What’s that?
TCG: Jicima. Wanna taste?
UCC: What’s that?
TCG: Still jicima.
UCC: What’s that?
DOB: No. I don’t know.
UCC: Either Jicima or a copy of your resume, last updated in the middle of the previous century.
DOB: I don’t know. No.
WISIMH: Letting my hearing aid batteries die with dignity before we embarked for lunch, and thus softly suffocating the sounds of reality like a pillow on a sleeping face. That was an inspired decision.
UCC: Nobody knows. No.

Later that same generation…
UCC and TCG have just come from the butcher and I’ve loaded the groceries but am still rooting around in the tailgate, going through the recyclable grocery bags to find the one I take out at our next stop at the Farmer’s Market because it has pouches to separate vegetables. I can’t find it. TCG is standing there watching me, clearly waiting to get my attention so he can speak.
UCC: I can’t find the canvas sack with the separate partitions. I want it to--
TCG: No. Did you get the receipt?
UCC: --take to the farmer’s market. And yes. I’m going to write the debit amount in my check---
TCG: No. The point is, did she give you the amount to write in your checkbook?
UCC: (waving receipt and checkbook) No, the point actually is that I was looking for the grocery sack. And didn’t find it. And yes, I have the debit amount on the receipt she gave me: $94.15.
TCG: Then what did she give me?
WISIMH: A rash? A one-way ticket to Crazytown? An enigma wrapped in a mystery, stuffed into a small canvas sack full of rocks, and tossed over a bridge into torrential waters? The latest excuse for failing the test of time?
UCC: I don’t know, dear.
TCG: (Looking at the copy of the receipt he retrieved from the grocery bag.) Did you write down $94.15?
UCC: (waving receipt and checkbook, where I’ve been doing just that as he could see if only he wasn’t intent on putting the car into reverse and leaving it there while we have this discussion, so the entire conversation is accompanied by the beep-beep of backup) Yes, dear.
TCG: Look! A squirrel! (or, that’s what I think I hear when he’s busy interrupting his own interruptions, but it may be that when he makes my ears bleed everything sounds like that.)
WISIMH: Your attention spans are as long as a red wool scarf sliced into femtometers and boiled, and don’t ask me why the scarf is red. It’s about concealing the bleeding from my ears. Lucille Ball once said: I’m not funny. What I am is brave. What she said.

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