The Many Faces Of

In New York, I bid farewell to these fools and headed off to DC for five days of trademark law fun. Each year, thousands (about 10,000 this time around) of lawyers from around the world gather in one city to discuss, educate, learn and, ahem, enjoy, while my team covers the sessions and produces the daily newsletter.

When I arrived late Friday night, the front desk apologized for not having a king-sized bed waiting for me. They told me I could switch rooms the following night.

Whatever, said I, she who falls asleep in non-discriminatory spaces. A bed is a bed, after all.

I started regretting this when I saw my room lacked a full-length mirror. I mean, I’m not that vain (okay, I am), but who goes on a business trip without being able to see if her suited-up self is acceptable? Further, the interior was strange. Lime green dresser. Cheetah print bathrobe. A partition in the wall with a too-high rod and a curtain for a closet.

But then, there it was. What it lacked in me-sized reflections, it made up for in this.

Clearly, all problems can be solved with a bit of distortion.

Note the many evolving phases of the iron and ironing board. With little time to dilly dally, I was only in the room to sleep, dress, undress and sleep again. You don’t want to know about Hurricane Bathroom.

Happy Tuesday, friends.

20 Aprils

The girl cried. Hard. Her aunt tried to soothe her: you’ll be back, don’t worry, it’s only for a little while. Nearby lay the youngest, 7 at the time, 8 in a month to be precise. She was annoyed. Very, very annoyed. Crying, she thought to herself, is for wusses.

It was 1992. The next morning, they were headed for America.

***

The youngest woke up. What time it was she wasn’t sure. Even more difficult to tell was where. Flying over the ocean, perhaps, into the abyss. No one else stirred. She cried.

***

It was cold, this New York. There were people everywhere. They walked everywhere. To the laundromat. To the grocery store. To the Rockefeller. What happened to the trees? The grass? The dogs and cats and rabbits and chickens? Here, they were quiet. The neighbors could hear every creak and squeak and thump.

***

“Where are you from?”
“The Philippines.”
“That’s where your parents are from. Where are YOU from?”
“The Philippines.”
“You left when you were a baby?”
“I was 8.”
“Why don’t you have an accent?”

***

So much happens in 20 years, yet 20 years pass in a blur. The girl is now a nurse. The boy wizard a computational biologist. The youngest a journalist. All in different cities. One in New York.

They never did go back; it wasn’t for a little while.

It, it turned out, was home.