Wednesday, March 28

Dear Jim,

I’m sitting in a nice patio garden at the utmost of snobby coffee shops. The guy who took my order did not say ”Hi how are you?” or smile or make small talk. The guy who put my drink up on the counter didn’t smile. I thanked him, then he said “You’re welcome.”

But no warmth. Each guy was dressed meticulously with an expensive haircut and with tattoos. It reminded me of San Francisco’s snobbery and pretension. All show but no go.

So I’m here, protected from the cool breeze on a warm morning. I needed to do something different. I feel good. It feels good.

Last night I went to the Spanish group I only go to once in a while now. I was actually able to speak, although it was hard and I had to repeat myself sometimes. But there too. It amazes me how terrified people are of strangers and it pisses me off that someone refuses to talk with the person next to them or across from them. I didn’t have a good time.

I had a great burrito. I don’t know what was in it. It had red sauce and the perfect amount of spice for my bland taste buds. I also had a great cup of fresh squeezed orange juice. It was $5.45, but I am glad I bought it.

You should see the machine they juice the orange halves with. Vrrrrrrrrmmm! and they are done. The machine really looks classy. The travel books say that in Mexico fresh squeezed orange juice at restaurants is an inexpensive tradition.

It’s been a stressful week or ten days. I’m really getting too old to work. It drives me crazy and I’m bored to death. We are short a really good staff member and we’ve hired some new people who I like a lot.

One of the reasons I’m stressed is because I am pushing hard to speed up Spanish. It takes a lot of time and effort and is hard for me, even though I love it. But I understood almost everything people said last night.

I did not enjoy the crowd like I used to, but I told myself that I really need the group, so go like it is a business meeting and don’t worry about whether the guy next to me is an asshole.

And then there’s a book I’m reading: Domestic Tranquility: a brief against Feminism. It’s incredible. It was written in 1998 by a woman seven years younger than dad. She went to law school, became an attorney, then gave up her job to be a housewife.

She loved it. She said being a housewife was more rewarding to her and more of a contribution to society than being an attorney. She said anybody can take your place at the law firm, but nobody will or can raise your kid the way you will or can.

The main goal of feminism was to destroy patriarchy and it worked. We all know that, but she puts a different angle on it. She said that rather than fight to make motherhood more respected, the feminists encouraged married women to leave their husbands, and single women not to marry. What these women should do said the feminists, is pursue a career just like the males who oppress them so they can be aggressive just like the men who oppress them.

The author said that feminists felt that motherhood was bullshit, then tried to bring the sensitivity that housewives used to bring to their family into the male-dominated work force by pushing for things like day care at the office.

One of the things she said was that the main reason that feminism of our time got started was because men were abandoning their role as breadwinners. She talked about the beatniks, Playboy Magazine, and the hippies. She said the beatniks did not respect women. Women were just a pain in the ass and you may as well give a blow job once in a while.

To her, Playboy made men teenagers, rather than a proud bread winning husband and father. Men were told that being single is the best way for a man to live. His manhood is based on his job title and on all the expensive toys he has.

As for the hippies, she goes on, at least they didn’t acquire all the horseshit playboys do. But still, they wanted to be promiscuous and they expected women to be promiscuous. There was no expectation or desire for hippie men to be an adoring husband or dynamic father.

The book has me thinking about my sexuality and what I need or want from a woman. She said women need to demand that men adore them and are willing to support them before they sleep together. I’d love to meet a woman I adore to see if I would devote myself to her and to a happy few years together.

There’s a real short book I just read that this author quoted from – The Penitent by Isacc Bashivas Singer. He wrote it in 1983. Did you read it? It is incredible.

It’s about a Jew who had run all over Europe during World War II starving and freezing trying to avoid the Nazis. After the war he ended up in America. He had no money and didn’t know what to do. So he used the business skills he learned from his father, then became unexpectedly wealthy. He didn’t care about money.

He was a philanderer. Then after a failed affair and during his failing marriage, he decided he had to give up the adultery and inhumanity of the modern world. He longed for the purity of the Jewishness of his father and grandfather.

He took a taxi to the airport, then a plane to Tel Aviv to begin his difficult journey to become a Jew the way Jews were before they embraced the soullessness and immorality of the post war Gentile world. One day he sought a Jewish religious library to delve into his roots in order to save himself.

An old rabbi came over to him with a twinkle in his eye and love in his bearing and said, “Welcome home my son.” Isn’t that incredible! I never felt anything like that from a priest.

You know I often refer to things I’m reading or doing but never talk about them again. So I’ll mention some.

On Sunday I watched the Paul Newman movie I told you I was going to watch. It’s set in Antioch and Rome when Saint Peter was old. There is a great scene of Peter healing a girl who can’t walk. She is between her parents struggling to stand as Saint Peter exhorts her. Finally, she awkwardly walks to Peter where he hugs her to him.

What was amazing is that the guy who made the movie had the insight to think that maybe the apostles, since they weren’t Jesus, couldn’t heal as effectively as he did. And Peter, as an old man, probably couldn’t heal like he used to. So the girl didn’t just get up and walk delightfully away like the cripples who Jesus healed did.

Remember the 1300 page book about Texas I was reading and told you I would stick with like a Texan? I stopped on page 1100. I wasn’t interested in what happened after 1970. I guess now I can’t go to Texas.

Well Jim, it’s been great writing. I’m filled with passion, and you always admired me for it.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko