For a few hours, I didn’t think about the fact that today was the third anniversary of the day I returned to Sacramento after my three months of homelessness in Los Angeles.
If someone is holding a very sharp implement against your skin, that’s not a time to act like you’re in a flea market.
You might call a man you don’t know “chief,” but when that man is a judge and you are the defendant, you should probably go with “Your Honor.”
The obvious thing to do is to trot down to the store with the bag of empties and exchange them for money, right?
I am not uniformly miserly. I allow myself the pleasure of good beer, periodic meals out at places where the entrees cost more than ten dollars, and, now and again, a vacation. But waste still feels deeply difficult.
Nowadays “busy” is everyone’s default. Columnist Omid Safi calls it the “dis-ease of being busy, where we are never at ease.”
In Ruth Reichl’s fabulous memoir Garlic and Sapphires, about her tenure as the New York Times’ food critic, she describes a dim sum experience she had in Flushing with a graduate student from Hong Kong. The student’s advice was to begin by ordering fancy tea.
Generally speaking, roommates expect to keep their money separate, since they know the arrangement is temporary. Romance, though, works like peanut butter, slathering everything — especially money — in a sticky layer of complexity that is hard to remove.
Halloween, as much as Thanksgiving, is a holiday about generosity.