This may amuse Sara Handy, who reads this blog from time to time, although it probably won't surprise her -- my parents remember things she has done better than I do. This last week, my mother was serving as an instructor for some sort of science project in Lake Itasca, Minnesota (headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River). Last night at dinner she was explaining the whole project in her usual meandering and overly detailed way and I was just sort of sitting there nodding and not paying attention until my dad said: "This was the same thing that Sara did that one summer."
"Huh?" I said.
"Sara Handy," my dad said. "She used to be your girlfriend."
"I know that. I don't remember her going to Itasca."
"Sure, it was the same summer that she also took part in some research on the brains of snails."
"I think it was worms," my mom pitched in.
"Yeah," my dad said. "Snails or worms. And it was supposed to somehow help to find a cure for Alzheimer's."
The hell? I don't remember any of this. That probably says a lot about my quality as a boyfriend.
In my defense, my memory doesn't work that way. I have a crap factual memory. I can remember things vividly, but it all exists without context in my skull -- a timeless collection of sensual experiences -- taste, touch, smell, look, sound.
This morning I found myself thinking about it more, and perhaps I do remember Sara's going to Itasca.
"Hey. That was the same summer that she worked with those hot Puerto Rican girls," I thought.
This, too, probably says a lot about my quality as a boyfriend.
Maybe, though, Sara told me all about these snails and worms with Alzheimer's disease and I don't remember because I didn't hear her.
On July 2, 2003, I sent a note to the American distributor of Welsh ESB, asking where I could find it in or around St. Paul, Minnesota. Today I heard back from them, in the form of my being CC'd on an e-mail to someone else (presumably a local distributor). Two years -- I can't even decide how I feel about that customer service. Obviously, it's abysmal, but at the same time, you have to respect that the person I sent the e-mail to got around to answering it eventually.
I also give him credit for his valiant effort in ending his e-mail with "Yachi-da," which, I'm guessing, was an attempt to write "iechyd da" -- a common drinking toast, it is Welsh for "good health."
I think I have before told the story of being on the Tube in London with an American friend when a very loud American family boarded the train. They stood in the middle of the carriage, loudly announcing to one another their complaints about various facets of what they perceived to be daily British life:
"WHY DO THEY HAVE TO BUTTER THE BREAD ON ALL THEIR SANDWICHES? IT'S SO GROSS!" screamed the mother, emphasizing "they" with a tone of disgust.
My friend leaned back against his seat, put his hand over his face and muttered: "I am Canadian. I don't care what my passport says; I am Canadian. When we get back to Pompey, I am sewing a Canadian flag onto my backpack."
Similarly, dudes like Larry Mattlage make me want to disavow my being a fourth-generation Texan.
Uhm, sure: the American Cornhole Association.
Good name for a band: National Ska League
Good name for a band or an album: El Presidente de NASCAR*
I am shocked -- shocked, I say -- to learn that a rugby team would become disruptive when denied alcohol. No, wait. I'm not at all shocked. What were the flight attendants thinking? Getting between a rugger and booze is like getting between a mama bear and her cub.
*I don't know what's wrong with me, I was watching NASCAR again this weekend. In a Domino's advert that ran during the race, Michael Waltrip proclaims himself to be "El Presidente de NASCAR," in response to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s claim that he is "Grand Pooh-bah of NASCAR."