Owing to my responsibilities relative to the wedding, my blog writing will have to take a temporary back seat to whatever needs to be done. Consider these fragmentary "Bulletins From The Front." Libya, with wedding cake.
Anna picks me up. We need to run a few errands. A “Maid of Honor” present for Rachel. A gift for “Mom”, for all her help. (She’s getting an I-something-that-Apple- makes, but I’m not sure what it is. Anna says it’s like an I-phone, but it doesn’t make calls. I’m not sure how useful that is, but Dr. M dropped a hint that she wanted one.
I come outside, and there’s Anna’s white Prius. I go to get in, when I notice there’s nobody in the car. I look in front of the white Prius, and there’s another white Prius. I had made the classic Santa Monica mistake – the wrong white Prius.
I go to get in, and there’s nobody in that car either. (This is a true story, I swear.) I look on the “street side” of the second empty white Prius, and there’s a now impatient Anna in yet another white Prius, waiting for me to get in.
Three white Priuses. Just in front of my house! You can drive all over Indiana (where we vacation), and not see a Prius of any color. It’s a geographical distortion.
“This must be the most popular car ever!”
It is. But only on our street.
We drive to the Apple Store. The place is packed, like they haven’t heard the economy’s in the toilet. To me, visiting the Apple computer store is like a scene from Woody Allen’s Sleeper. I am cryogenically put to sleep, and when I wake up, I am confronted by machines I have never seen before and have no idea how they work. Even the people walking around in the store look different. They appear to have bigger heads.
I ask Anna, “If you’re young and you’re stupid, do you still know more about this stuff than I do, just because you’re young?” Anna immediately replies, “Yes.” It’s like a newly minted “gizmo” gene. If you’re old, you are entirely out of luck.
We play around with this “product.” When you tap the screen, an “on-screen” keyboard pops up, and you can text and e-mail with it. It turns out I didn’t even understand the things I understood. Anna says, “Type something, Dad”, and I can’t. The letters on the keyboard are in different places from the places I expected to find them, having studied typing in 9-C at Ledbury Park Junior High School. Somebody has moved the keys around, I believe, deliberately, to make me feel just a little more “out of it” than I already felt.
It is then explained to us that there’s a globey-looking icon, that, when you press it, offers you different keyboards for different languages. For some reason, the “demonstrator model” was set for “French”, which, apparently, doesn’t use “k” as much, so they “keyboarded” it in a more remote location.
One last Apple Store disorientation, as if my confidence hadn’t been shaken enough. When you sign on the little…glass rectangle screen that you sign after you pay with a credit card, they want you to sign it, not with one of those pens that aren’t really pens, they want you to sign with your finger. I haven’t given my autograph with my finger since I cursived “Earl” in a snow bank in the winter of ‘58. I was shamefully out of practice. You look at that signature and it’s like Michael J. Fox, without the medicine.
Anna needs gas, so we stop at a gas station. The cheapest gas in four seventy-nine a gallon. I’m not one of those people who’ll drive half way across town to save three cents a gallon on gas. But this was forty cents higher than any of the stations we passed later. Why did we go there? Anna was on “Empty.” But it was not the place for us. The car in front of us was a Bentley. That was perfect. They wouldn’t even notice the forty cents.
A guy gets out of the passenger side of the Bentley. Suddenly, Anna gets all excited. (Get ready for a “Gas Station Moment” that can only happen in Hollywood.) Anna shouts,
We finish our errands, and Anna drops me off at home. I had the best time, just driving around with her. It occurs to me there is no reason to believe that will change after the wedding.
I am turning the corner. It is going to be okay.
Our first guests have arrived – my brother’s two daughter’s and their families. They have rented a condo near the beach, three blocks from our house. We walk over to welcome them.
Hugs and happiness. Anna says, “I am honored that you're here.”
“I am honored.” Not, “It’s so awesome that you’re here.” Not “I’m really happy you’re here.” Not “I can’t believe you guys are here!”
“I am honored that you’re here.”
I am a “word” person. I believe in the “right” word, the word that most accurately conveys the meaning, and the underlying feeling behind it.
I was enchanted by Anna’s selection.