- I started the day by singing Happy Birthday! to Tony. He seemed to appreciate it. I think my wife would have appreciated my not singing it in Chinese to him.
- I had to go to work. So, I didn't actually get up with Tony. At work, it was nose to the grindstone.
- After work, we went to the Sichuan Restaurant across Zhongshan Road from school. Yu Pai Fu Hao it is called. I enjoyed the food when I had the chance to sit down and nibble at it. Tony, as rare readers may know, doesn't like to sit in restaurants, so during supper, I took Tony around the block three times. We also made about three trips up and down the elevator (we were on the third floor)
- I made WTUs 389 and 390 at Yu Pai Fu Hao.
- There wasn't a Nuremberg Rally-Woostock Music Festival sized crowd at Tony's birthday dinner. Those attending were Ling Ling (Jenny's best friend in Wuxi), Connie (a student of mine), Connie's husband, Connie's son, and Neighbors (three people who have a car).
William Faulkner, according to Gore Vidal, said that when he first heard the word "coevals" he thought it meant people who were evil together. This always comes to mind when I see my son in company with other 14-year-old males. Groups of midteen boys, even well-raised middle-class ones like ours, seem to radiate mischievous intent, especially in the long summer sloth. If Old Scratch is looking to make some work, here are the idle hands.
The confederates eye me warily as I approach. I doubt they have been up to anything worse than trading dirty jokes, but probably the other two have also been sent out for computer-time violations or other small misdemeanors, and the air is thick with anti-adult attitude. I dispel it with a flash of my magic amulet. "Mom can't cook. I'm going for fast food. Place your orders, please." (It's a neighborly street: We feed one another's kids pretty regularly.) Now I see enthusiasm!
Girls are, as everyone says, easier. My 16-year-old daughter is a bookworm, currently reading her way through my fiction shelves. On a single weekend recently she polished off The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Flann O'Brien's The Poor Mouth. Her sole computer interest is in a game called Sims, which lets you construct people with personalities and style choices, and have them interact with one another. The thing has deep appeal to the young-female soul. (I hope the diversity cops are dozing in their patrol cars here.) Girls seem less susceptible to computer addiction than boys, though. Mine tires of her creations after an hour or so and reaches for a book.