In my continuing quest to learn the Serbian language (a quest which is often interrupted and curtailed by intervening events, obligations, and Tuesdays), I have come to realize that I have overlooked an essential part of learning this language that has nothing to do with my six-word vocabulary, my mastery of one tense and one grammatical case, or my inability to deal with multiple declensions.
Business is booming for the Prognosticators of Doom these days. All I am hearing from all sides is that the End is Near, speeches about the Demise of Consumerism abound, and that we are sliding into a time of feudal lords, manor houses, indentured servitude and mediaeval bartering.
I find myself thinking in quips and quotes and bons mots. I am unable to sustain a thought for more than about three seconds before looking for new sensory inputs. I am deathly afraid that I may lose my train of thought and not even be able to finish this blog post. I might substitute a YouTube video instead. I might just encapsulate the whole thing in a three word sentence.
Facebook is slowly robbing me of my already challenged attention span.
Ten years ago, on 9/11, I was in Paris. I was sorting out lots of sportswear overstock and trying to place it enticingly in front of my client's eyes. My client's eyes, however, were glued to the television. I was annoyed. I had just arrived from Rome (he from Belgrade) the night before, we had one day to make this deal, and he was watching TV. I grumbled.
"Something happened in New York," he said.
We are getting back to work after a long and protracted holiday (even if we did not take one, everyone else seems to have done so). Streets are busier. Shops are crowding up slowly again. Supermarkets may even begin to stock the shelves once more. The fall season - in a way very different from the burgeoning of spring - is all about new beginnings. Schemes
On the front lawn of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, lines of Sherman tanks on each side ($120,000,000.99 or best offer), the tables have been laid out. Dolly Madison's silverware ($35,000, slightly used), Eleanor Roosevelt's collection of erotic hat pins (Never before seen! Make me an offer!), and the famous Big Stick of Theodore Roosevelt ($18.75, genuine replica) are all on display.
Everyone across the land would smile and beam when they heard him speak. He could say "no" when most folk would have said "yes." He would not just play with anyone - and he would tell them the reasons. Vook was the apple of his Papa B.'s eye. Papa B. would send him out into the world and ask him what he saw. And Vook, proud and pleased, would come back and tell him all about it.