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NauenThen

Monday Quote

Good sense travels on the well-worn paths; genius, never.

~ Cesare Lombroso

 

I guess it was genius to go to Scotland, eh? I'm still a little mid-Atlantic brainpower-speaking: tell me, how does this quote apply to my ill-fated trip, or does it? I'd like it to come out that I'm a genius, but it certainly didn't turn out that way. 

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And back I am

Definitely guessed wrong on the impact of the virus, & had to grab a very expensive last-minute ticket, with the worry that I wouldn't get back for a very long time if I waited. One needs to be home when something big is going on, & it was distressing to be so far away. Things are closing or closed here but I don't think it's really struck that this might or will go on for a long time. Of course I hope people don't get sick of social distancing & self-isolation & all the things we are learning just when it's most important to stay the course. This article in The Washington Post was reassuring. And Scotland was great, even if the trip was too short & marred by worry. 

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Off I go

Is it a terrible idea to travel internationally? Hard to say, so I'm going to go to Scotland tonight, & hope that I get back on the 20th as planned. 

 

I mean, it's a fantastic idea to go to Scotland! I will see my beloved namesake & her mom, a quasi-cousin & a lifelong friend, do a reading, & see a city I've only been to once, ages ago. Despite the weather app predicting nonstop rain, it will be intermittent. I don't need wellies, she said, but bring a warm jumper. I'll also take the train to Liverpool for a couple of days to see other cousins. 

 

In the middle of a pandemic (has COVID-19 been declared such?) & a pretty big stock market tank, this may be my last chance to take this sort of trip. 

 

I remember reading about a young man who came to the States, maybe as an exchange student, and while he was away, there was a revolution & his country ceased to exist. It took him many years to get home. Little worries circle me but then I think: it's the (post-Brexit!) UK. What can happen?

 

We shall see. 

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Monday Quote

And what is a barbarian, you ask? A man dressed in skins? Not in this century, friend. He's the type who likes to destroy. That's all. He wants to be boss-man, whether it's with a hatchet or a gun or a bomb, or with nice cold-eyed justifications such as "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs." As if we were only something laid by a clucking hen for breakfast.

~ Helen Macinnes

 

It's so miserable having one's illusions of civility torn apart. 

 

I don't need to say more, do I? 

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In the neighborhood

Setting: 8 a.m., Second Ave & 4th St.

Her (middle-aged lady with rollie suitcase): How do I get to West 4th?

I point her towards the nearby F but she doesn't want to do stairs. I point her towards the bus.

Her: And I can get the 2 train there? 

Me: No. Where are you going? 

Her: Columbus Circle. 

Me: The 2 doesn't go there either. 

Then she tells me she's actually going farther uptown. 

I don't know how people expect to get directions if they won't tell you where they're going! 

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Younger

Photo by Monica Claire Antonie. 

Everyone I've showed this photo to thinks I'm a teenager in it. Or younger! People have guessed anywhere from age 11 all the way up to 19. Including my husband who knew me & was at the event where the picture was taken. I was 31. I look at it & am no longer surprised or indignant that cops thought I was a 15-year-old runaway when I was 25. 

 

The boys were 20 years younger than me at the time of the photo but are now my age, in that odd way age has of flattening out in adulthood. 

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Pet peeve #4,171

Did you ever notice that if there's a bad connection, the person you're talking to ALWAYS blames you & your phone? I suppose if I can hear perfectly & you can't, I might assume it's your phone, but that doesn't even make sense: It's not the phone, it's between us & sometimes it just happens. They are always very judgmental: You're moving around - hold still! Something's wrong with your phone! Not only is it your fault, they know what you are doing to cause or exacerbate it. 

 

How about: "We seem to have a bad connection. Let me try calling you right back." 

 

I remember many, many years ago, when Maggie & Rachel lived on 9th St, we were on the phone & we could hear another conversation, faint but clear. We started butting in, giving girlfriend advice, until they realized what we were doing. They lived nearby & somehow we ended up meeting up at the Grassroots. Nelson & Rene were Puerto Rican revolutionaries & eventually moved to Boston, but we hung out for a few months. 

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What, me worry?

My cool as a cucumber cat, Lefty. 

My nephew was supposed to go on a senior trip to Germany in a few days. His school just canceled it out of concern for COVID-19. Not surprisingly, my sister (& several other people) asked if I was thinking of not going to Scotland next week. As long as I'm allowed to go, I'm planning to. That is, unless the U.S., UK or Delta pulls the plug, I'm getting on that plan in exactly seven days. 

 

Should I worry? No more than I ever worry about the unknown, I suppose. I'll take some precautions, like trying not to touch my face & washing my hands more than I do, but for now I don't feel at risk. Things can change! I notice there are a few more empty seats on my flight back than there were a week ago. 

 

People are on the subways as ever & everywhere else. New Yorkers don't scare easy! Some of my friends have been stocking up on things like rice & lentils. I can always use a few more rolls of toilet paper. 

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Monday Quote

If you don't like politicians, you should try living in a country where they don't have any. 

~ Tony Benn, British politician

 

I have been unable to find confirmation of the quote or its source, but it's a good one. I remember a book by Paul Gallico, one in a series about Ada Harris, a cockney charlady who also goes to Paris & Moscow. In Mrs. Harris Goes to Parliament, she gets elected quite by accident & ends up quitting right away. She says it's a job that like any others needs qualified people & it devalues the job if people like her do it. Yes, politics does demand knowledge & skill. You can see that some people, like Lyndon Johnson & Abraham Lincoln, are really good at it. And some people fell into it, like Jim Hightower said about George Bush: he was born on third base & thinks he hit a triple. (A quote originally from football coach Barry Switzer but not about Bush: he said "some people.") Getting elected is only part of the job, & it's what you do afterwards that counts. I guess I would say I'm for unity. I hate to see Democrats fighting Democrats when there are so many Republicans who should be sent packing. I look at it as a moral issue, & I'm not sure I would support Lincoln if he was running against a decent incumbent. 

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Quenching!

One time Maggie & I went into a tiny shop in Chinatown for something to drink. In the case were cans of jellied grass drink. How is it? we asked the lady. Quenching! she declared. We bought a can. IT TASTED LIKE JELLIED GRASS. It was the most horrible thing I ever drank. We spewed it out into the street. To this day "quenching" is our adjective for GAAACK.

 

And now this. Has anyone called it divine? 

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