The Fog Of Heritage

Episode Two Hundred Eighty Four: The Fog of Heritage.
In which we age.

1 comment:

  1. Some time in the early 90's my father took me and my brother to San Francisco. I'm guessing that's when this memory is from. My father loved traveling, and he also loved patronizing indie bookshops by collecting poetry volumes. My brother ended up teaching Modern American Lit at Georgetown University, and I'm sure that did our father proud. He had a heart for poetry and academia, and often talked about how he envied the options we had in our lives. Options that I dutifully followed, trying to create the 'follow your bliss' life that he had been denied. As a result, my own children now experience limited options, due to the poverty I've cultivated. It's the cycle of the generations. (My father had been successful on the backs of immigrant middle-class.)

    On the San Fran trip, I visited friends from college. I had planned to see them only once, but they took me to a literal hole-in-the-wall burrito place. Coming from Vermont, I had never experienced a burrito like this before - monstrous with the large steamed wrap. I couldn't believe it. I mean, it literally was a demarcation point for my life.

    On the following day, my brother and father were seeing a Giants / Rangers game in which Nolan Ryan was pitching. I was slated to go, but I couldn't get that burrito out of my head. So I declined and went back to visit my friends, who begrudgingly took me back to get another burrito. There were not at all enthusiastic, to be honest. But, I abused my self with a second monstro burrito in as many days, and when I caught up with my family I found out that Nolan Ryan had pitched a no hitter. They had to explain it to me, and I thought it sounded really boring.

    I have the two tickets and a photo of Ryan pitching in that game (my father liked contacting newspapers to solicit copies of images). They are mounted and framed; I ended up with it after my father died in 2010. I look at it often, and think of how I missed an iconic father/son/son outing in exchange for a burrito. And I usually conclude that I'd do it again.

    I remember eating in an Italian restaurant on the afternoon that we hit up City Lights, and my brother ordering pesto (this, too, was new to me back then), and he marveling at how dense his pasta was with pesto. And, of course, I remember City Lights.

    I think it was not long after that visit that the earthquake shook the West Coast, collapsing that elevated highway. Some of my friends scattered after that experience, though with the cost of housing I don't know how any of them were able to ever live there in the first place.

    The final frame here from Frank O'Hara's "A Slow Poem" (1955?). I came across this text and it made me think of the three of us, my brother, my father, and myself - three windows, embarrassed to be functioning, but without purpose. Or to be looking out on a seriousness that is disarming and unexpected. Or something like that.



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