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54 indistinct banquet Several people are being honored at the banquet, but I’m not one of them. In fact, I don’t even know any of the honorees, so I’m not paying all that much attention. I’m thinking somewhat about the chicken marsala. It’s good, and I wouldn’t mind having another serving. Oh, and that’s a nice-looking woman over there. The guy sitting next to me is talking about his daughter, who’s spending a semester in Ireland. This is a great opportunity for her and I agree with him. It is great. It will open some doors, broaden some horizons. I am buttering a dry roll at this small banquet not honoring me while his daughter is probably sitting in an Irish pub, singing drinking songs, feeling like finally she’s found a home, far from her dad, a place where people really understand her. I am happy for her and eat my roll, wishing that I were being honored. I’d go up to the podium and make some quips in an off-hand, boyishly charming way, and then turn totally grown up and serious, and say something about Darfur or leukemia that would have every woman in the room eating out of my hand in ten seconds flat. Instead, I continue to learn more about the daughter. I say, I’ll bet she’s enjoying the pubs over there! No, he says, she’s not of drinking age. So there’s that further bit of information. Now I can’t think of anything she might be doing, 55 so I say, well, the Irish are such great people. I could have said, Maybe she’s on a bus right now, moving through a gray city in a heavy rain, feeling more terribly lost and alone than she thought she could ever feel— I know I felt that way in Spain for awhile— but probably he doesn’t want to hear that. And anyway, the speeches are starting, and I think, this kind of thing is really what life almost entirely consists of: chicken and a dry dinner roll at a kind of indistinct banquet, or series of banquets, in other people’s honor, a lot of information about some stranger’s daughter, then the drive home late at night, parking the car in its place in the driveway and sitting there for a minute or two under the stars with my own thoughts. Such as: I’m getting old. Or: one of these days, the sooner the better, another banquet will come along, hopefully in my honor. ...


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Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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