Mia vojaĵo al San Diego.
First things first.
In my last Letter from San Diego ( the name I am using when I send out this series to friends) I misspelled the title of Hitler's magnum opus.
His book was called Mein Kampf. I was confusing it with the Yiddish volume of the same name which detailed Sol Rosenbaum's ten years of fighting with the IRS over a tax refund.
Personally, I like Sol's book more than Adolf's.
I got up bright and early on Sunday 28 June to fly out of Baltimore to San Diego via New Mexico. John drove me to the airport and kissed me goodbye as I ran in front of a busload of Boy Scouts en route to the resignation of the Governor of South Carolina. The flight from New Mexico to San Diego found me sitting next to a lady from Dallas who informed me that she was a Baptist. She was concerned that Esperanto ( yes, I couldn't keep my big mouth shut) might not be for Christians. I told her that there were lots of Christian Esperantists. She seemed really happy to learn this.
This lady loved the word , " Interesting". She kept repeating it over and over again. She also clutched a paperback book to her bosom. I looked closely at it ( the book) and saw that it was a Christian novel about some....well, Christian person who did something.
It wasn't too clear to me what the book was about.
She told me that she was a rep for Kodak and was in San Diego to lead a training. Previous to this she had worked for Fox Film which she said was the beginning of a scintillating career as a lab trainer.
We shared two very small seats side by side. I was sitting on her right. I began our conversation by asking if my left arm was bothering her at all. What had happened was that I had no place to put my left appendage ( the arm). I tried all sorts of positions ( though I omitted the missionary one out of respect to my new companion). At one point I levitated my left elbow about three inches in front of her head.
There was no place to put it.
Also, I was uncomfortable. On the previous flight I sat to the left of a baker from New Hampshire who told me that he loved Jewish food and had even married a Jewish woman but that there was no good Jewish deli in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This went on for three and a half hours. He then told me that a Finnish carpenter came to his bakery and drank coffee and that a Jew walked in and then they all discovered that the Finn was Jewish as well.
The plane continued toward New Mexico. I nodded and feigned deep interest. I also realized that I was not enjoying the conversation but, thankfully for all, had not mentioned Esperanto.
Then he mentioned that the Jewish man who walked into the bakery was now dead.
We grew silent.
The flight attendant asked if I wanted pretzels.
I muttered something about gluten intolerance. She gave me a menacing look and moved on.
My companion fell into a deep sleep.
Some where a tree fell but, apparently, no one was present to witness this.
Back to the Baptist lady.
She turned suddenly to me and asked why I was not a Christian.
" I am the same religion as Jesus."
She grew silent.
Another tree fell somewhere. No one witnessed it.
She changed the subject.
" My husband is coming to San Diego to spend some time with me."
" That's great. So is mine."
I always like to find commonality when having conversations with strangers. Somewhere I read that this builds rapport.
She kept repeating the word...well, you know... "interesting".
When I got to San Diego I followed the instructions that the Esperanto center had sent. Ten pages of directions in Esperanto.
I took a shuttle to the campus. The passengers in the mini-bus were three Asian-American women ladies, a man who never spoke, a lady who sat next to the door and who had more jewelry on than is available in most department stores and me. The man sported a bald head that looked like it had been stepped on by a mastodon. At one point he exited the bus and never returned. The lady next to the door was held in place by a seat belt stretched from the wall behind me and somehow was expected to keep her in tow.
It didn't seem to have the desired effect.
As we veered around corners at the speed of sound she would mimic a wave crashing on a shore in some tropic hellhole. Her jewelry usually preceded her by a few inches. She left us when we got to some luxury hotel.
One of the ladies in front of me began to ingratiate herself with her new companion ( Jennifer Lau, yes I did get the name) by offering to tutor her in physics. Jennifer, apparently, was going to the same location as me.
I wondered if I would run into her since the physics building is the same one where the Esperanto classes are to be held. Maybe we could become friends. Maybe not. She kept talking about how her Chinese mom would have a fit if she did such and such or went somewhere. She talked a lot. " Oh, my mom would go crazy if I dated Tom." " My mom hates Jim." " My mom wants me to finish school this summer." And more.
One of my new suite mates ( we are four rooms with a common area) just introduced himself. He told me he is from Massachusettso.
For this I paid $3,000?