Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rays of Sunlight - Two

While in a praising mood, I thought I’d make a second entry to celebrate things large and small in modern culture. Herewith one big thing and one small.

Yesterday Air France delivered two boys to us, Henry and Malcolm, Michelle’s youngest, twins aged ten. They left Paris and arrived here some eight, ten hours later, smiling sweetly, full of life, accompanied by an unsmilingly severe lady in Air France uniform (the perfect French bureaucrat) holding their passports and wheeling their luggage. A curious process of identification then took place. The children waved, we rushed forward (Brigitte, Monique, and I) and proceeded to hug and smack big kisses in European style while the Air France lady observed and, no doubt, at some crucial level, fully knew that we were the people to whom these youngsters could now be safely transferred. Bits of paper? What do they know? Nonetheless, we next proceeded to the examination of bits of paper, not least Monique’s plastic-encased Michigan driver’s license—which the Air France lady dutifully studied, not least the picture, looking up to see if Monique was really the same reality as the photograph indicated. Magical things were going on—a mental process in the Air France lady’s mind which judged the picture to be Monique. Behind that look loomed the vast process of vehicle licensing arrangements by the State of Michigan. Then came signatures, twice, and finally, mutual nods and smiles (the bureaucrat cracked a little) signaled the end of the encounter, and— left, as it were, en famille— we proceeded to the elevators.

Second verse. Back at Monique’s house, not very much later, the boys in swimming trunks now, attempted to do it all at once, thus swimming and fishing at the same time. In this process I got entangled with Henry’s fishing box, left over from last summer. Inside it the top tray had been hopelessly disfigured by the melting of five or six artificial worms made of some kind of second-rate plastic that had liquefied in the fierce heat of last summer. While the boys were off to fish-and-swim simultaneously, I went off (always seeking concentration) to clean up that tray. It was fiercely resistant—until Monique, divining my problem, handed me one of the modern culture’s unsung but great products: Goo-be-Gone. Well, in truth, the product’s real name is Goo Gone, but everybody refers to it as I just did. The Producer is Magic American Corporation—and that’s the kind of magic I do believe in. In no time at all, Goo Gone had dealt with the melted worms and Henry’s tackle-box was as good as new. I suffered conscience pangs for enjoying this cleaning experience rather than using it as a way of interacting with Henry, letting him do it, but for the boys it was now 1:00 a.m. subjective time, for us 7:00 in the evening.

Praises to Air France and all the other airlines, battling the storms of high prices and falling travel patronage. Praises for Goo Gone.

It was a good day. There are lots of them. By way of a corrective to this excess of exuberance, I began looking forward to today’s New York Times, and, indeed, I wasn’t disappointed. Goo be Gone but Gloom be Back.

1 comment:

  1. As I often say these days : the blogs are where the real stuff is! I would suggest not being overly conscious of our interaction with each other - it seems that when we are those are the moments that things go wrong. Happens to me ALL the time. Communing with Goo-be-gone so Henry can catch base one in good conditions is also where it's really at. Praises to you dear father.


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