Some things I learned during my trip to the US, written in the few hours before I fly back:
- My mother's new cat is delighted by everything, particularly things that in some way are in reach of her, or interact with her, or make a sound or light of some kind.
- My parents have not used the DVD player I bought them three years ago because they were unable to solve the mystery of why DVDs placed in it would not play. Today I diagnosed the problem: The wires leading out of the DVD player were unconnected to anything. Behind the dresser I also discovered the highly dust-encrusted remains of my mother's baby brush; a remote control to a no-longer-recognized device; and a Barbie doll we speculate was to be a gift some years ago.
- After several years of being unable to cross due to harsh weather and dangerous river currents, Revolutionary War reenactors were finally able to recreate General Washington's sailing across the Delaware, paying the 35 cent toll, and attacking Trenton. The past several years there's also been dispute about whether this reenactment should be run by the Pennsylvania Revolutionary War Reenactors or the New Jersey Revolutionary War Reenactors, the sort of bitter quarrel that makes everybody who's ever argued about whether there are twelve or thirteen Constitution-class starships in Captain Kirk's era feel smugly superior.
- Apparently, though, they've discontinued the State Quarters program. The past year and a half despite making a reasonable number of cash purchases I haven't gotten any new State Quarters, or even any State Quarters other than Virginia, Vermont, and Georgia, and all those the Philadelphia mint. Granted I'm not in the United States much, but I've seen more 1999 Susan B Anthony dollars than I have quarters for any state since Ohio, and most of my change has been ordinary eagle quarters.
- I no longer recognize any of the names that the supermarket checkout tabloids regard as familiar enough to give only a first name for, and I'm fine with that.
- My brother, driving way down south, was not bright enough to avoid the highway between Washington, DC, and Richmond, Virginia, and was surprised to encounter heavy traffic. There are soldiers from the Grand Army of the Potomac still working their way out of that traffic.
- My barber is so happy to see me that he will spend the entire haircut of the guy ahead of me, and mine, and the guy after me, telling people how great it is to talk with me, rather than actually talking with me.
- Somehow, my sandals disappeared between being taken off last Tuesday when I arrived, and this evening when I packed.
Trivia: There are at least 119,500 known species of fly. Source: ``Winners of Nikon micro-photography contest on display in Trenton,'' The Star-Ledger, 27 December 2005. No author given. Appears in the Today section.
Currently Reading: India: A History, John Keay.