Dr. Seuss knew what he was doing. Somehow in the last week Isaac has managed to pick up Hop on Pop--possibly the most annoying children's book ever written--and read it aloud, cover to cover, several times.
it's not memory either: he's sounding it out.
It's his new bedtime routine. And oh the joy on his face when he reaches those last long and lovely words: Con-stan-tin-o-ple and Tim-buk-tu.
I took a cab this morning. The driver showed up on my doorstep; he was an older guy with intense eyes. He was friendly, courtly even, and mentioned several times during the ride that he was glad we weren't going to Fisherman's Wharf, because it's the worst tourist trap in San Francisco.
He'd grown up here and was old enough to remember when the cable cars passed right by my house.
He knew the magnitude of the '06 quake, and how many people had been killed. He told me that Enrico Caruso had been staying at the Palace Hotel, and that he'd run out of the hotel with a suitcase in hand, still wearing his pajamas. He told me Caruso was really a baritone, but his range was so wide that he could sing tenor. He recited dates, names, numbers until my head was spinning.
I started to tune out. My mind wandered. I wasn't uneasy, but I wanted him to stop. And then I realized.
I think maybe he's from France.
And I relaxed subtly, and just let his words tumble over me as we drove. As I left the cab I asked if he'd always been so good at numbers and dates. "Yes," he sighed. "But I forget the other stuff. It's why I drive a cab." He over pronounced the word, letting it linger in the air.
No moral here, no prophecy, just a story. But I wonder how things were for him; whether he had help, whether there was something else, whether it was hard or lonely or just different, whether he knew I recognized him.