Children of greater gods.

12 Mar

Just starting a three-day tour with high school kids from Texas. I leapt on their motorcoach and said, “Hello!” in my best, pumped-up, cheery welcome-to-NYC, hunting-good-will kind of way, only to be met with dead air, chirping crickets, and averted eyes. “Numbskulls,” I thought, scanning the group. Except for one young man.

He looked genuinely excited to be here, hanging on my words, a little giddy with anticipation. “Him I want to talk to,” was the note I scribbled in my head. When we got to the Empire State Building, it seemed he had scribbled the same note in his, as he alone sought me out among the group of fifty-two.

“Are we going to Rockefeller Center?” he asked, brightly, as if this were the fabled Oz he had heard tell. “Yes!” I said, “that’s where we’re going next!” He let out a yelp, truly, a yelp, and rubbed his hands together the way we’ve seen flies do when we imagine them relishing the thought of their next good meal or feces. Then he muttered something I couldn’t quite understand. I chalked it up to my poor hearing, and asked him to repeat himself. Nope. Still didn’t get it. So I resorted to a tactic I’ve concocted in my waning years and gave the reply to what I could have conceivably heard: “No, we’ll be there at 1PM or so.”

The young woman behind him, a self-styled and self-appointed interpreter, begrudgingly looked up from her texting to whisper loudly to me, “He’s retarded. He wants to know if we’re going to the Nintendo Store.”

I grabbed him by the shoulders, shielding him, looking squarely into his eyes with all the earnestness I’ve ever had, and said, “Yes,” you angel, you sweet gift of god, “I am going to walk you to the Nintendo Store myself.”

Perhaps cynicism and apathy and boredom and deflection and lies are higher cortical functions. Perhaps we need them to survive. Fuck that. This afternoon? I’m going to Nintendo.

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3 Responses to “Children of greater gods.”

  1. Dugutigui March 21, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    To my view just one self-appointed retarded interpreter…

    • NC Coot March 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

      Right? It’s easy to be cruel, and, if you’ll excuse me, sometimes necessary. But it takes the worthwhile effort to be magnanimous.

      • Dugutigui March 21, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

        You are right!

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