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July 23, 2003

Two DINKS on the Loose

On Sunday we drove up to LA to take Alex to this summer's big event: his CTY class at Loyola Marymount. He's taking Latin I and these three weeks are equivalent to a semester long course. It's a shame that so few kids get to take Latin these days, or even know what they're missing. I had two years of it and across four decades I can still hear Mr. Belliveau intoning "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres" into the chalky air. They're the opening words of Caesar's account of the Gallic Wars, but of course you knew that. Mr. Belliveau promised that dropping this phrase into cocktail party conversation would mark us as well educated, though I'm still waiting for the right moment.

Alex has a vocabulary that's already awesome and this will boost him even higher. According to the syllabus, he's done with the first and second declensions. Next week: the subjunctive! He loves this stuff, as I did.

So June and I are DINKS for three weeks. Yippee! What freedom we have! No more the relentless drumbeat of "Let me know when you're hungry" every two hours. No more having to watch back-to-back episodes of MacGyver and Star Gate SG-1 Tivoed into four hour marathons. No reason not to stay out late swing dancing and swooshing martinis with all our well heeled academic friends. "By the way", I'll say seamlessly to the Dean's wife, "that dress you're wearing reminds me of what Caesar said about Gaul: 'Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres'."

With liberty ours at last, we had a choice to make on the way back home. Romantic dinner at sunset in Newport Beach... or funnel cakes at the Orange County Fair?

The Fair was deceptively big. Just when I though we'd seen the last of it, we turned a corner and there was yet another row of hand painted bird feeders, barbequed corn, kielbasa, antique tractors, stained glass crucifixes, crystal sun catchers, collections of miniature Napoleons, giant tomatoes, quilt contestants, rides where you hung upside down 600 feet in the air, artichoke sandwiches, corn dogs, a Libertarian recruitment booth, Walt Whitman needlepointed onto pillow shams, bookends shaped like cats, and my favorite... a place where you filled out a questionnaire and handed $2 over to a woman who then fed your answers into a computer straight out of a 1960 sitcom: a twenty feet long panel filled with lights flashing to themselves in thoughtful binary. Some time later, after a decent interval reflecting the enormous amount of processing required, the woman attending this Eniac produced a scientifically valid report on your personality, thus verifying things about yourself that you had long suspected. Could a romantic dinner top this? Hardly.

Three hours of fairgoing and we were ready to come home to a sonless, catless house. Just the two of us, dead tired. And for the record, I love watching MacGyver and Star Gate for hours at a stretch and miss the kiddo already.