I left about a half hour early for my weekly volleyball game
with Edward and his gang. Arriving at East Beach
at 11:30, I commandeered a picnic table from a sea gull, and resumed
my reading of Cryptonomicon.
When the sun reached its zenith, I wasn't really surprised that nobody
had shown up yet. Edward hosted a LAN party the night before, and while
he had affirmed that the volleyball would take place as normal, he would
probably be getting up not too long beforehand. I waited until 12:25
before calling him; a friend of his answered his phone, and said the
game was likely scrubbed, since everybody else was still
unconscious. I agree, and continue reading, planning to leave at the
end of the chapter. Just a few minutes later, with only two pages to
go, Aimée shows up. She sits at the table with me and I update
her on the (non-)plan, then we just go on talking.
Aimée has been seen at the weekly game a few times recently, so
we know each other's names, and we've exchanged a few words before.
Nonetheless, as usual, I am a bit uncomfortable conversing with someone
I don't know, but I determine to stick it out and hold up my end. At
one o'clock, I ask her what she's going to do now, sans volleyball.
She says she doesn't know, and inquires if I'd like to go get some lunch.
That had indeed been on my mind, but I was, for whatever reason, reluctant
to mention it myself. I agreed, and suggested a nearby Japanese
fast food place, when she asked where.
The restaurant is a little hut colocated with a batting range. I asked
her if she ever liked to go to such a place, as I had had a habit of doing
several years ago. She did, and mentioned that she's normally on a
women's softball team, both of which provided some fodder for further
conversation while we waited for our food (broccoli beef for her,
shrimp bowl for me) to arrive. Our conversation went from there in
many different directions after that, and we parted at 2:30.
As we left the place, she thanked me for buying her lunch and said she'd
have to return the favor soon. I said "You're welcome" (is there a verb
for that? Not welcome, obviously.), and said maybe we'd come back and
hit some balls together.
I spent two hours with her, acquitted myself quite satisfactorily I think,
and we both had a nice time. I was quite proud of myself. And I'm trying
to get up the nerve to ask her over to watch a movie that,
during our discussions, she made me promise to watch.
One of the things that came up in our talk was the fact that she doesn't
know her father. I come from a perhaps slightly different era (having been
born in 1960), but I realize you can't swing a cat these days, particularly
in a crowd of younger people, without hitting one or more people whose parents
are divorced, or who hate each other, or whose parents were not
married, etc., etc.
While not having married myself, nor being an extreme right social
conservative, I am distressed by the amount of easy divorces, throwaway
marriages, and bastard children in our society.
While I will always treat them civilly, in my mind there is always a black
mark on the chart of people I meet who are divorced (especially if more
The timing of this particular part of my conversation with Aimée
was apt, because tomorrow is my parents' wedding
anniversary. They have been living apart for several years. While I've
never been tremendously close to my family, I told my mother after that
that I had trouble visiting them, even the annual Thanksgiving visit that
had been my wont, separately. She said she understood. I'm not proud of
myself for that, though, nor of the fact that I won't be calling them
tomorrow. What would I say anyway?