Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why not?

A few minutes ago I looked out my third story kitchen window. The unremarkable view of the parking lot was there as usual, with one small addition.

Someone had their barbecue grill cranked up. Right there in an empty parking space.

Although it is far removed from my poverty-level urban reality, somehow I still instinctively feel, probably from some genetic connection to the distant recesses of my American middle class suburban ancestry, that (the bizarre custom of tailgating not withstanding) a barbecue is supposed to happen in one’s own yard. Maybe on a patio, near a picnic table, with some grass and landscaping somewhere in the picture.

But now, in my more enlightened well-traveled post-modern reality, I know that most of the world doesn’t have that luxury. Not here in America necessarily, and certainly not in most of the world.

So people just barbecue- or cook- where they can. (In a third world county, hopefully they actually have food.) Why not?

As I turn around from the window, I see that my two youngest have taken the initiative to light a candle sitting on the small table where they are eating. Although it is far removed from my single mom living in an apartment in the hood reality, somehow I still instinctively feel, probably from some dim sense of what would have been if sin had not messed things up, that candlelight should have been associated with romantic dinners between a husband and wife. Maybe in a quiet restaurant once a year for anniversaries, or a more regular basis at home, with some happy stable kids somewhere in the intact family picture.

But now, in my more enlightened post divorced reality, I know that most of the world doesn’t have that luxury. Not in America any more, and certainly not in most of the world.

So, people just find bits of comfort where they can. (In a third world country the candle may be the only light they have.) Why not?

So, to all my friends: Whether you live in a crowded modern city, or a third world country, cheers! Go for it. Barbecue in the parking lot. Light candles while your kids eat leftovers in your apartment in the hood. Appreciate whatever family you have.

Why not?

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