Two lives intersected at a restaurant — a patron and a server — sharing their autobiographical information with the freedom that social etiquette did not suppress. This is an approximation of their conversation:
I got pregnant with my wonderful daughter when I was 13 and had her when I was 14. You want to know why? Because my mother was a whore and my father was a perv. I remember when my husband and I were in Egypt. He hired a Turkish maid for the trip. I say “maid” because she didn’t do a lot the whole trip but sit on his lap, if you know what I mean. By that time, she and I were the same age, 19. My husband, when I complained about his relationship with the maid, told me he was comparing the two of us to see which one of us he was going to leave in Egypt.
That’s cool. When I turned 19 I took off with a friend to Israel. We lived on what we made. I worked as a bartender for a while. Once, my friend and I decided to go to Sinai in Egypt on a whim, sneaking across the border. We had a great time. My friend was better-looking than me and one of the men we met offered 100 camels for my friend.
An Egyptian general, who told me that he was supposed to kill me because he had talked to me alone in the dinner tent without my husband present, offered my husband 100 camels for me. My husband said he would have taken the offer if he knew what to do with 100 camels.
You’re lucky. If you’re not a good prize, they only offer 10 camels. I said the same thing to the man — I had no use for one camel, let alone 100. We stayed and played [لعبة الطاولة?], or backgammon, and had a great time. My mother about died because I didn’t talk to her for several days — there was no cell service in the part of Sinai we were in — she thought I’d been kidnapped. After two years of bartending, I got bored and saw my life was going nowhere so I came back here, got an associate’s degree in engineering technology, and am working on my mechanical engineering degree, hoping to graduate with a 4.0 GPA.
Good for you. I’m proud of what I did. I raised three kids on my own while working at Columbia Records. You can do anything you want if you have the determination.
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People’s lives are innately unique no matter how much they may be led to follow social trends. After all, the patron and the server were inside P.F. Chang’s, a chain restaurant located at an outdoor shopping “mall” with other franchise stores.
How many of us do what I’m doing right now, cocooning myself with thoughts directed at a computer screen, talking about our lives or playing computer games rather than living our lives?
If I decided that I no longer enjoy dancing with my wife, that listening to her voice now that I have hearing aids has enhanced my desire to escape to this computer screen, that her desire to spend more time with me is not reciprocated, where does that leave me? What determination do I have to do anything I want? What do I want to do to accomplish a goal 13271 sols from now?
When I heard the conservatory students of Robert McDuffie describe what they’d accomplished as musicians, I realised that when I decided to marry my wife, I had given up on what I wanted to accomplish when I was a ten year old boy who had just viewed his dead girlfriend in a coffin — honour her life through my writing, turning my thoughts into action, conquering the known universe or as much of it as I could before I died.
In the Earth year of 2014, half of the marsyear I’m labeling Marsyear One, it is time for a new beginning, sol number 4 of 668.
It is time to determine if I move out on my own, perhaps sharing a place with friends, increase my number of labour/investment credits and give a little attention to the dreams and aspirations still cooped up inside the happy, hopeful boy who’s part of me.
I am responsible for making my dreams come true.