Thursday, June 24, 2004
Is that a good book?
So I'm sitting at one of the various fast-food Chinese restaurants in my neighbourhood, eating sweet & sour chicken (Yes, I told Richard I would get veggie fried rice, or mixed veggies, but dammit, I broke down) and reading Augustine's Confessions. First Reuben stopped by & we chatted. Then he headed off in search of softserve ice-cream.
A woman and her daughter (prob. about 3 years old) came in to use the bathroom. When they came out, the daughter asked for a can of soda. Her mom said, "No, you can't have that, I don't have the money" and walked out of the store. The daughter opened the fridge & grabbed a soda, calling "Mommy! Mommy!"... then gave up, put the soda back into the fridge, and quietly ran out of the store.
A bunch of teenagers (15-16 years old) came in then -- black Bronx kids, full-on Bronx accents, full-on urban gear. I put down my Confessions and packed up my garbage to throw it out, wiping up the sweet & sour sauce that had dripped onto my table. One of the kids came by me to grab a soda. "Saint... Saint... who is that?" he asked. "Augustine," I replied.
- That looks like an interesting book,
- It is... it's...
- Do you write books? he asked tentatively.
- No... but I read a lot of them... I smiled.
- I want to write books, I want to be a writer.
I didn't really know what to say to that. I think I said something lame, like "You should go for it!" or "Why not!" or something like that. I threw out my garbage, and smiled at him again, told him to take care, and left the store.
I hope he gets to write books. I hope he gets a good education, somehow, here in New York. I hope, that if he writes a book, he's able to find a publisher.
I hope he can always afford a soda.
Man, am I ever lucky to be a graduate student, with a stipend, a tuition waver, and the kind of respectability that makes it easy for me to get additional work here at the library, and the kind of accent-free middle-class accent that means I can phone service agencies and get help when I need it.
I was walking down Fordham Rd the other day & a tall black guy pushed past me, deliberately bumping me, and muttered, "You look like you go to Fordham." I still don't know what to do with that. Or rather, I can construe a number of things.
Anyway. Just some thoughts.
jane 8:05 PM [+]