The news that Miami will not be hosting a Super Bowl anytime soon got me thinking back to 1999, when I covered the 33rd contest. Not the game – my newspaper had a team of reporters doing that – but the color and events surrounding it. In fact, well before the game I started writing my final story of the week, sitting with my pocket Webster’s Dictionary in a mostly empty media tent just outside the stadium. It was the first time I’d written on a laptop and, not realizing I’d have access to the Internet, I’d brought my dictionary along.
I finished my story half an hour before kickoff and successfully sent it to the newsroom. With an intense feeling of joy and relief, I entered the stadium. (My ticket allowed me to roam without entitling me to a seat.) The electricity in the stands only heightened my elation. Descending the steps behind one end zone, I spotted a colleague sitting with his wife in the middle of a row about halfway down. Giddily, spontaneously, I reached into my bookbag and pulled out my Webster’s.
“DICTIONARIES!!” I cried, holding it high in classic vendor fashion. “GET YOUR DICTIONARIES HERE!!!”
Everyone around looked up in amazement. I felt a small part of Super Bowl history.
"You like to read," the cable man commented.
"Yes, I'm a writer," I said. I should have said, "Yes, while watching TV," for why else was he here? I had over a thousand books to keep me company, volumes that never needed system support.
I learned that Luis was from Brazil. There was something I'd liked about him as soon as he'd walked in the door. I showed him my collection of Brazilian CDs: Joao Gilberto, Chico Buarque, Nana Caymmi, Milton Nascimento, Rosa Passos. He had never heard of Passos.
I put the CD on.
"I know this song," he said, as she sang softly, slowly Duas Contas. And for a lovely moment, the melody blocked out any thoughts of television.
A report on WLRN yesterday noted that Florida's only indigenous fruit tree is the sea grape. Our beloved mango trees came from India, and our supposedly signature orange trees came from China.
Though we can at least take credit for the popularization of orange juice.
Hania’s knowledge of English is better than that of many Americans, but she still has trouble with articles, a part of speech that doesn’t exist in Polish. At least I thought she had trouble with articles. Over the weekend, she asked me to edit her bio. She found the ending – in which she mentioned that she was married to “Thomas Swick, a travel writer” – a little weak. I suggested she change it to “travel writer Thomas Swick.” With an impish smile she said, “Perhaps ‘the travel writer Thomas Swick.’”
Hania and I were at the Aventura Mall Saturday evening, so a little after 6 we found a restaurant that had a television over the bar and we took a table just in front of it. The TV was tuned to the Preakness, but it had been put on mute. Watching a horse race without the sound is like watching an orchestra through soundproof glass.
Lunch yesterday at Pomperdale's New York Style Deli. "The New Yorker" - hot pastrami and corned beef on rye with Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. A crisp half sour pickle completed the basket.
I was one of the youngest people in the place. Leaving, I passed two retirees coming in.
"How are you today?" the cheerful young woman at the cash register asked, to which one of the men replied:
"I'm not sayin'."