Couldn’t sleep last night. The evening gets to a certain point in its arc and I throw in the towel on any work that involves typing. My wife and I’d dined at our local Indian restaurant earlier in the evening. It’s a short walk away and though its cold we decided to earn our appetite seeing how it was only the two of us. Talking, we headed out for the place on foot.
The ATM outside the restaurant, which I’ve used a hundred times, told me to call my bank. Frustrated I tried to use the ATM again and was told the same thing again. There’s plenty of loot in the account, which I confirmed with my wife. “Did you take out a bunch of money?” “When?” “Today?” “No.” Didn’t think so. Skype-out now to the fraud protection line in Arkansas or wherever it is I’ll be routed. Sometimes you wait on line for five minutes, sometimes for twenty-five. I put the phone down and let it proceed ahead audibly with its faint distance, checking every once in a while for the tell-tale sign of a real human being. And in so doing, increasingly annoyed my wife.
About the time the vegie samosas hit the table, the call dropped. I called again, instinctively. My wife dialed a friend, correctly surmising that this would annoy me. OK. Later then, for this 'must-do-right-now' I’ll call them later, on the walk home I decid. “Excuse me, you guys take wechat, right?
And I climbed into bed around eleven pm, with two hundred pages left in my Pomfret book about U.S. China relations. And uncharacteristically I didn’t fall asleep. I just read and read and as Harry Truman, turned into Ike, and JFK and Kissinger, I reckoned I’d finish the whole thing off. I had read a review a year ago that unfavorably disposed me towards this book and I kept expecting to find a distasteful, U.S. slant, but it was all quite reasonable to my estimation. Both side perennially passionate about each other, regularly annoyed and feeling misunderstood by the other, reminding me, a bit, as I finished up, of my own U.S.- China marriage.