Thursday, July 3, 2008


The San Diego airport, my home away from home! Well, not any more, I guess, with Leonard Pennario gone and, as of yesterday, buried. If you did not read the post I wrote lastnight about speaking at the funeral, please immediately put aside your other affairs and read it. That was a trip.

When I remember this experience -- as I will, when I am old -- I hope I will not dwell on the flying aspects. We have this crowded gate, and a little over an hour until our plane leaves for Minneapolis. You would not believe the slugs. And the annoying cell phones. There is this couple sitting across from me scarfing down an endless variety of junk food out of hundreds of paper bags. And a guy next to me playing a video game that sounds alternately like bubbles popping and gongs going off.

And of course there's a three-day-old infant. I want to have a baby just so I can take that kid immediately on a plane, to get back at everyone who has tortured me this way. Honest, I would go straight from the hospital to the airport.

It is no wonder Leonard Pennario and I hit it off. Here is a Pennario story I love, that I found myself sharing freely at the funeral lunch yesterday. It is the moment when I knew that I not only admired Pennario, I loved him.

It was my first day in San Diego, which would have made it Nov. 1, 2007. Leonard and I were sitting next to each other in the first of many restaurants in which we'd find ourselves over the next three months. It was a cafe in an upscale supermarket, kind of like Wegmans only you could get wine.

There was this Chinese kid squalling at the next table. I am hyper-sensitive about stuff like this so I was deeply annoyed, but I didn't want to say anything because I didn't want to sound like the crab that I am. Then Pennario rolled his eyes.

"Brat," he said.

"I love you," I said. OK, I didn't say it. But I thought it, and Pennario being a brilliant and worldly man used to women falling in love with him, I am sure he sensed it.

So it became a long-running joke with us, whenever there would be a crying kid we would complain freely to each other. Once I told Pennario, "California has the cryingest kids I have ever encountered in my life." Pennario agreed. Of course he already knew that California was a deeply flawed state. We used to discuss politics a lot.

But that is a whole other story.


Anonymous said...

What did the kid being Chinese have to do with the story? Would he have been less annoying were he black or white?

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that was meant to be descriptive, not an attack on the kid's race. Good storytellers paint a picture with their words, and we all pictured the kid instead of just some generic crying blob.

Anonymous said...

morgan, that was a cheap shot..

Anonymous said...

I understand it's being descriptive, here's the thing, if you'd called the crying kid a Jewish brat or black kid a spoiled brat guess what, it'd have a. sounded Anti-Semitic or b. anti-black.

Would you have been so quick to describe the annoying kid as a black kid or a Jewish kid?

It's something to consider.