Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"a rumor of angels"

It's the little things, day in and day out, that most often give us joy, even if we rarely take the effort to ponder, as we experience them, how good they make us feel. I still have a contact high from having spent Sunday afternoon with friends in Baltimore, indulging in the many simple pleasures of Fells Point, so maybe that's why I so thoroughly enjoyed John Derbyshire's most recent "The Straggler" essay in National Review, "A Rumor of Angels."

Money quote:
A young woman comes to wipe my table. Her name tag bears a common Hungarian surname. Guessing she is an H-2B (that is, a bearer of a seasonal-guest-worker visa), I offer her a greeting in that language, of which I know a few tourist’s phrases. She is delighted, and favors me with a stream of animated Hungarian. Of course I can’t understand a word.

We switch to English. She is indeed an H-2B, a student from Transylvania. I passed through that region once, a couple of decades before Miss Nagy was born, and we trade Transylvanian reminiscences till she is called back to the serving counter. For a while I sit there sunk in memories of my Wanderjahre while savoring the glow that a man — any man, even an incurably married old guy — gets from the attentions, however brief and accidental, of a pretty young woman. Do they have skiing in the Carpathians nowadays, I wonder? I forget to ask. Back to my book.
Fantastic. The end of the essay is a treat, too. Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

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