Margaritas, Cold Sweat, and Dante

beata-beatrix

Dante wrote his long poem for Beatrice Portinari (that’s Bay-ah-TREE-chay)

“Rojo,” my wife says to me one morning.

We’re in the car on the way to the gym. We work out in the basement of the township senior center. Treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bicycles, a couple rowing machines—there’s always a few of these not in use. There are also number of pneumatic weight machines, for maintaining a senior citizen’s various muscle groups. You sit at these machines. They’re good for gentle sedentary social exercise.

“What about it?” I say.

“Why can’t anyone say it?” She says it again, “Rojo.”

“Rojo,” I say.

“Nope.  That’s not it.”

Rojo is a Mexican restaurant in the area. When our niece comes home from Italy, we have a family gathering at Rojo. Twenty or so of us get together to eat and drink. We try to organize these get-togethers on the Tuesday dollar-a-taco night. Rojo serves acceptable tacos and cheesey beany burritos and sizzling fajitas. Also popular is the house margarita, a greenish slurry of cheap tequila and an industrial-grade margarita mix that gives the drink a long distinctly chemical finish. The cocktail is served in an over-sized chalice; sort of like a small glass bucket. I don’t think it comes with an umbrella. (It should come with an aspirin.) Continue reading “Margaritas, Cold Sweat, and Dante”

Dear Family and Friends,

Some years ago I had a very depressing conversation with my brother, Tom. We were talking about how quickly time seems to pass, and as an example, how the summer months, which seemed to last forever when you were a kid, fly by when you become an adult. Tom, you probably know, is a math man. He said, Well, it’s like this: think 3/x, letting x = your age in months. As x increases in value, the ratio of summer time to life time gets smaller and smaller. Infinitesimally smaller. Continue reading “Dear Family and Friends,”

The Sway of Earth

preci

A recap of this weekend in Italy: earthquakes and seafood

We have clams for lunch.

For dinner, earthquakes.

First, a food report from a restaurant on the Adriatic. The photos below were taken at a fish place called La Marianna that my wife LOVES. It’s in Rimini, next to the Roman-era bridge of Tiberius, completed around 21 AD. We drive over it every time we go to this part of Rimini. How’s that for engineering? Continue reading “The Sway of Earth”

The Soft Imperative

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I ask my wife, “What language do they speak in Macedonia?”

It’s a Friday morning. This is our pre-breakfast quiet time. Usually we don’t say much early in the morning. What is there to always say? She’s reading a book about the Spanish Civil War and drinking her first cup of coffee. I’ve just clicked off the New Yorker, which I’m partially reading online these days. Anthony Lane has yawned at “Black Mass,” the new Johnny Depp movie, comparing it and Depp, unfavorably, to “Taxi” and James Cagney. I’m about to spread fig jam on a slice of toast.

This is an excerpt from “The Soft Imperative,” a piece recently published in Thread.  Thank you, Ellen Blum Barish, for your careful reading and judicious suggestions for revision.

Here’s the link to Thread and my essay.