Wednesday, August 3, 2011

vignettes from 3 august 2011

“What are you doing?” asks the child, gesturing at the tangled strand of labels overflowing the table.

“Upgrading your folders,” I reply. “Nicole doesn't like having to look on the sides to see the names, so I'm labeling the tops.”

“People these days,” he sighs.

A girl at the next table asks what sales tax is. Somehow, the United States debt “crisis” and Congress's inability to function are mentioned.

“People these days,” he sighs.

I turn away to help find a misplaced math book. When I return to sorting folders and labeling, the child is texting under the table instead of continuing to fill in bubbles on his practice SSAT.

People these days, I think to myself.


I walked down the street, hoping the gray sky would keep its moisture to itself until I'd reached shelter. A hand holding a cigarette between two nicotine-yellowed fingers stuck itself out the window of a banged-up silver Toyota, and the smell of tobacco and hot rubber brought me back to China. I'd forgotten how the long walk between the hotel and the university smelled, though I'd traveled it twice a day before moving in with the professor.


The official countdown starts: 18 days until I start college.

Why start with 18? Well, why start with a “nice” number such 20? It's only a nice, round number because we count in base 10.

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