Sunday began like many Sundays before. I was over at Sophia’s. We were sitting on the couch, the Los Angeles Time spread out before us like a buffet of information — fascinating articles on politics, culture, business, and books at at our fingertips. We were deep in discussion on one of the day’s pressing issues:
Neil: “So, you’re saying — there were times you were with me — in bed — where you would choose a bowl of onion soup over an orgasm?”
Sophia: “It’s really hard to find a good onion soup in Los Angeles…”
Neil: “I’ve never heard anything so crazy in…”
The conversation was cut short by the phone ringing. It was my mother calling from Queens, just back from her bus trip through Spain and Portugal!”
Sophia: (to my mother) “Hold on, Mom. Neil’s getting the other line, so we can both talk to you.”
I ran to the kitchen and picked up the other phone.
Neil: “Mom! How are you doing?!
Mom: Fine. Fine. I just walked in. I’m a little confused about the time. I had breakfast this morning, then took a plane to Italy, where they served us breakfast. Then on the plane from Italy to home, they served us breakfast again. So, I had three breakfasts today! Isn’t that hilarious?
Neil: “Yeah, yeah. So, how was the trip?! Tell us everything!”
Mom: “Oh, it was very nice. The people on the bus were very nice. We sat next to Joyce and Ed, a couple from Canada. They were an Arab couple from Toronto, but very nice. And then, behind them was this family from Mexico. Very wealthy. And they knew Spanish, so they were always helping everyone buy postcards and tschotchkes in the souvenir stores. And then there were these two adorable girls, Jennifer and Tracy, who just graduated from high school and they got the trip as graduation presents. One of them even let me us her music Pod thing!”
Sophia: “What about Madrid? Did you like…”
Mom: “Hold on…hold on… and then there was Florence and Angela, this mother and daughter from Georgia. At first, I thought they were sisters because the mother looked so young. Black woman over fifty always look so young! And then there was Tony and Hans. a gay couple from California. They were so funny, always making jokes. I gave them your phone number because they travel to Los Angeles a lot. Oh, and then there was Roger and Anne, a very nice couple from London who were on their honeymoon. It was a second marriage for both of them. Roger’s first wife died. It was very sad. But Anne was their nurse, so it’s funny how life can bring people together.”
Neil: “Did you go to Toledo?”
Mom: “Wait…and there was another Jewish woman from Chicago, Shirley, my age, and she was very nice. She knew a lot about Jewish history in Spain because she used to be a teacher. And she really hit it off with this Indian man, Raj, who was travelling alone for the first time because his wife died in a car accident a few years ago. We even think Shirley and Raj became boyfriend-girlfriend a bit during the trip. You should see how nicely Raj was dressed all the time. Always in a suit and tie…”
Sophia: “Mom, OK, OK, we get it. There were nice people on the bus.”
Neil: “Yeah. Tell us about Spain. Portugal. What did you see? What did you like?”
Mom: “Who remembers? Every place is jumbled together. But I did notice that Spain is a lot cleaner than Portugal.”