Friday, August 24, 2007

The family, part II

from the diary: “9/23/88 Friday

“Initial interest in me from Robert & Maria has passed. They now largely ignore me, which makes me feel lonely. As soon as they get home it’s turn on the TV, or, in Robert’s case, unfold the newspaper. They don’t ask me questions, ‘What have you been doing? Found anything exciting?’ They don’t make suggestions. ‘You really should see – you can’t miss –‘ When I ask Robert questions, as I did last night about his elected office, he answers my questions quite willingly yet distractedly. His attention is divided between me and the bills. When I said to Maria the other day, ‘I got my first letter from my mother …’ she said, ‘Oh! How nice.’ Then said something about her own mother to the neighbor woman who was visiting. I was going to say something about how fast the mail was or what Mom had said about the cat or [how glad I was the mail strike was over] but [Maria and her guest] carried on as if I weren’t there.”

I tried to make friends with Linda, the German au pair. She was into Duran Duran “& has Duran Duran pen pals around the world.” I remember her telling me she and her friends would make fun of English. “We would say it sounded like somebody chewing gum.”

I took a tour bus to Stonehenge and Salisbury. “I was impressed. This big empty – and today, fiercely windy plain, flat, and these obvious, big, roughly shoebox-shaped stones in a circle in the grass. I wasn’t looking for skyscrapers.” My brother had told me when he visited he wasn’t impressed, expected them to be bigger. “Shoebox-shaped”? I’m not sure that metaphor aids their grandeur.

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