Saturday, June 27, 2009

a memoir for larry

I gotta get my life some writers.—Bill Watterson (Calvin&Hobbes)

Out of all the taxis waiting on Front Street in Hamilton, Bermuda, I happened to get into Larry’s. Larry has skin the color of coffee, eyes more ice-blue than my own, a ready laugh, and a deep Bermudan accent (think British, but warmed and mellowed by the island sun and waves).

Taxicab philosopher, he’s a self-proclaimed expert on the weather, life, love ... and names, as I quickly find out.

“Well, good afternoon, Melissa,” he says, after I tell him where we’re going. “Wait—what’s your name?” “Jenn,” I answer.

“No. You look like a Melissa. All nice and sweet. Melissas are always sweet.”

I grin out at the Hamilton harbor, trying to hide my smile. “Well, I’m also Jennifer, if that’s any better.”

No, that’s worse!” he says. “All the Jennifers I’ve met were wicked, wicked women!” He says this with utter confidence, then looks hard at me. “Are you wicked?”

I’m choking now, trying not to laugh too hard.

“Or you could be a Lisa—maybe. You’re almost a Lisa,” he continues, as we pass a dozen brilliantly red trees—the Royal Poincianas, which seemed to bloom specially for my week there. “All Lisas are beautiful and sweet.” He shrugs. “But they’re not very smart. They’re 99 cents of a dollar, if you know what I mean.”

“Well, I guess I’m too smart to be a Lisa,” I say, still laughing. The Lisas I know are thoroughly capable, but maybe things are different in Bermuda…

“People with the same names are always the same,” he says. “It’ll be the same for you, Melissa. You’ll meet someone who spoils a name for you forever: like Yvonne. I can never be with another Yvonne.”

We hurtle across another bridge, and I stare out at pumpkin-colored houses. “Wait and see—you’ll be attracted to men with the same-sounding names, for the rest of your life.” (Sorry, Larry. But so far, this is absolutely not true.)

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Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 06/27 at 06:55 PM
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