Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Nouri Lumendifi is off to college

Been watching this young man most of this year. Apparently he's leaving home to go to college. His reflections make wonderful reading. In my experience teens simply don't think or write like this. Give him another ten or fifteen years and he will be one of the country's most valuable intellectual assets. New Haven, Connecticut has left a mark on Nouri. He may change, but he will never forget. Good luck, Nouri. The world is your banana.

Item: I am kicking a soccer ball down the street, when it hits the wrong side of my foot and hits the window of a pretty blue house. I hear the rattle and the barking of a large dog. The ball stops rolling back to me half way down the lawn. An “ADT” security sign warms me that should I trespass here I will be prosecuted. I panic. The door opens, and a little old man sticks his neck out the door and shouts “Who’s done it!”

I confess, and the old man grows angry. “Whaddaya goin’ to do that for? What’er you doing around here?” Going home, sir. He is dissatisfied, and waddles over to my ball. “This yours, boy?” I am scared, the old man is wearing an undershirt, swimming trunks, a coat of white fir, and loafers; he is rather unsightly. My ball is in his hands now, and I cannot help but as for it back. I am very sorry for hitting his window. “When did you come here?” I haven’t the slight inclination as to what this buzzard is talking about, and I do not answer. He asks again, if I tell him, I am told he will give me my ball back. “I don’t know.”

This bitter looking, wrinkly buzz-cut old man, puts my soccer ball under his hairy arm and turns around, and goes back into his house, slamming the door behind him. He looks at me from the window and closes the curtains, with the look of “Good riddance!” on his pruney face.


My city was my making. The city’s greenery, its Mediterranean restaurants covered in New England snow, its poverty, and its seasons are not easily left behind. In Boston, there are millions. In New York there are millions still. In New Haven, there are perhaps a few hundred thousand, if that. There is pizza the world tells you to like and places that claim to have invented the hamburger. There are probably comparable claims made in other cities, but none of those are my city. I did not read Lenin on the steps of the public libraries of Boston; I did not witness white flight in Brooklyn Heights; and I did not have my first date on the real Broadway. I did all of this in New Haven. Loyalties of citizenship, religion, and ethnicity aside, I am from New Haven. Not genetically, but by an accident of geography.

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