Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beans, Brooklyn & Controversy

Another of those away from the beach days…

For a short time there I thought my telephone troubles with Sprint were a thing of the past. Key to the problem is service. A shortage, and too often lack of customer service here in the US continues to color my post-Japan days. Seems like for every good and helpful customer service rep you encounter, there are nine other not so good reps to wade through before reaching the good one. My phone trouble is definitely not a thing of the past, but Monday did at least bring two different first class service reps from Sprint. The frustrating side of the ongoing phone problem comes with the knowledge that any and all problems would have been solved in the first thirty minutes if this were happening in Japan. A fairly simple cell phone problem with Sprint is now into its fifth month. Tell me something is not wrong with that scenario. This time I have been promised delivery of a brand new telephone between twenty-four and forty-eight hours. Could happen, I suppose.

Over in that neighborhood, so taking a small detour to Barnes & Noble was the sweet I needed to wash away the taste of a phone forever bad. Had been awhile, so the chances of finding something good were high. Not hard to convince me into sidetracking to a bookstore; the hard part comes in trying to get out of the store empty-handed. Once inside, on occasions when books on the ‘new’ shelf have nothing to entice, the feeling is something like disappointed relief. The relief is over not spending money before getting ten feet inside the doors. My hurdle this time was back in the L section with the discovery of an unfamiliar book by David Leavitt, The Indian Clerk. Leavitt is a writer I usually keep up with, chiefly because of his very impressive and controversial book ‘about’ English writer Stephen Spender, While England Sleeps (1993). The first printing of the book was eventually pulped following a court decision in favor of the Spender family. Leavitt then rewrote the disputed sections for a later edition.

Next to hit my radar was Jonathan Lethem’s novel, The Fortress of Solitude. If it’s anything close to the earlier book, Motherless Brooklyn I will be a happy reader. To those unfamiliar with Jonathan Lethem you can sample his wares through a New Yorker short story here. I’ve always thought it was a toss up between Lethem and Paul Auster as to who gives us the richer Brooklyn savor.

Being so near, my taste buds and imagination were getting roused by vibrations from Chipotle a few hundred feet down the road. The first time for lunch at the restaurant, an oversized burrito bursting with rice, beans, cheese, avocado and sour cream enough for an NFL front four put me off and I stayed away for a while. On my second visit I hit the jackpot with a rice, bean and chicken green salad. The only drawback with Chipotle is the noise and lack of inside space, which means sitting outside—a hot spot in August. Inside or out, the lunch is tasty, filling and reasonably priced.

Good feeling to walk through the rain to my car.


  1. Can't speak about the Leavitt book but Lethem's THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE is an outstanding book, one of my favorites of the last many many many moons. Such a brilliant use of language in capturing growing up in the 70's amid the New York jangle of music and school and parents and street games and gangs and uneasy friendships. Did I say brilliant?

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About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America