Friday, November 23, 2007

Keeping Tabs

Thanks Giving Day was unseasonably warm, about 68° for most of the day. I had an early dinner with a good friend. We caught the #4 to have Punjabi food at Pongol. She’s been seeing someone new —a nice Long Island boy who works in construction. To my surprise they found each other through CL Personals. Typically you can find a stolen laptop, used furniture, and an STD on Craig’s List. She told me that he wants to learn how to knit “Would you mind teaching him?” Maybe there are some gems out there amidst the dirt.

The appetizer arrived. It was a dish made of puffed rice with fried onion, tomato, cucumber, and tamarind. I asked her about a friend who’s in the middle of a divorce. "He’s coming back around — new apartment, better outlook on life, he’s eating better, losing weight." I know a quite few people going through something this Winter. Maybe it’s just the season. Maybe the Specter of Middle Age has come round pointing a boney finger at the conjugally involved and career minded. I’ve never been married. She asked “So, have you seen her? Has she called you lately?” I scooped the last of the Bhel Puri. “No, not really. Not lately.” Its actually been over six weeks. “Well, maybe she’s moving on?” “Maybe she has.” The dosas arrived shortly. I changed the topic. "My mom seems to be coming around too, she sounded better last night." Her family reunion trip to Virginia did her much good. I couldn't make it there, but my cousin Rose sent me pictures. "How can you tell, isn't your mom... humorless." "Yeah, but she laughed when I teased her about her Karaoke photos." She and her sisters looked like the Pink Lady reunion tour at a V.A. hall.

Dosas are paper thin Indian crêpes. They're rolled into a giant crispy cone served with potato stuffing and little savory dishes of dipping stuff. I also ate some of hers — waste not, you know. We had hot Chai tea for desert. After dinner we walked through Madison Square Park to the 2/3 stop on 14th street passing the other Thanks Giving stragglers and homeless people.

The fallen maple leaves blew around us in the dark like little bronze tornados. She asked why I brought a sweater. “I thought it might get cold later.” I made a gray raglan from the merino/silk that I got from School Products and Stitch Therapy. It's rather plain except for the detail under the arms and down the sides. The collar is lined with black Karabella Yak. I stitched a small tab into the neck so I can tell which side is the back — its practical, this sweater. I'm never sure if I'm insulted when some one says "It looks like you got that at a department store." Am I practical to a fault? My friend Joe says I'm a pair of house slippers short of being an old man. I remember to keep an umbrella in my bag but at the same time I always forget where I last put my cell phone.

She mentioned a small medical scare. Her doctor said she had to take another CA scan, but then called later to say it was only a clerical error. She’s tested negative for cancer for three years now — knock wood. I remember the first time she went for a biopsy. There were delays, I sat in the waiting room for hours, then the nurse finally called me in to take her home. She was coming out of anesthesia, still wearing the blue paper cap and surgury gown — very delirious and upset. I held her hand and she cried “I don’t want cancer.” She was worried about chemo. I made a joke, “No one does, they just want the little ski cap.” She couldn’t laugh, but neither could I. That was a winter of many mishaps, two days later I left on the first plane to Guam to bury my father. She didn't need chemotherapy, but I made her a soft green cotton cap in sheppard stitch. It has a row of small God's Eyes at the crown and a tab on the back. I always think I’m keeping tabs on her, but I think she thinks she’s keeping tabs on me.

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