Thursday, July 14, 2011

Moses behind a laptop

I am sitting in the living room at a retreat center—one of those 1930s-era lefty summer camps for adults that fill their calendars with workshops and lectures and canoeing and hiking and bad vegetarian food. This is not my thing. “Fun group activities” is an oxymoron in my idiolect. I readily acknowledge being a curmudgeon. I am here only to humor my wife, who is here because of a particular workshop she wanted to attend.

Earlier this morning, another guest, a woman about my age with a German accent, came down the stairs, saw me sitting here, and asked if I would mind if she took my picture. “If that would amuse you, feel free,” I said, and kept reading my email.

She took her picture and then volunteered that she is accustomed to seeing young people tapping away at their laptops but that she was startled to see me. She said, “You have a patriarchal beard.” I replied that the last time I shaved I was a young man and my beard was not patriarchal. “You look like Moses behind a laptop,” she said.

Maybe I’ll go on that hike this afternoon, after all. It’s up a mountain.

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