World Cup Blues | On a Roll | Paul Bendix | Almanac Online |

Local Blogs

On a Roll

By Paul Bendix

E-mail Paul Bendix

About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

View all posts from Paul Bendix

World Cup Blues

Uploaded: Jul 9, 2014
My friend Julia opens the door to Peet's downtown, and she is fighting back tears. I would rush to her side, but a friend is comforting her. My brain scours the possibilities. Julia's husband has been sick, but not that sick. Her daughter in college.... Something.

I recognize Julia's friend. She catches my eye and silently mouths the words "World Cup." Julia and the friend are Brazilian. They have come to Peet's for coffee and, doubtless, to escape the air of tragedy about their homes. Rolling my wheelchair toward Julia, I consider saying "it's only a game." But it's also only a life, and I want to preserve mine. So I say nothing much but "sorry," and ask if she'd like another macchiato.

I understand that it's a world economy, increasingly a world culture. But I am missing the sports gene and don't fully comprehend Brazilians' sense of loss in the World Cup. I don't comprehend many things. Without the know-the-color-of-your-own-walls gene, for example, interior decorating can prove difficult. Ask my wife. And absence of the male-fashion gene ensures a lifetime of dressing for failure.

But the World Cup offers a general test of modernity. Younger people, irrespective of background, instinctively know it matters. The Silicon Valley workplace was looking pretty international when I last knew it, 15 years ago. Today it is even more multinational, multicultural, multilingual.

Being old, my mind increasingly clings to outdated trivia, while forgetting essentials. Which explains why I somehow know the song "Baubles, Bangles & Beads," and now repurpose the lyrics to "butter, bagels & beer," my Trader Joe's shopping list. The latter proves in short supply. There is no German beer in the store. Why, I ask a clerk. The Germans' World Cup victory, he shrugs.

There is no escaping the world economy in Menlo Park. The next, young professional generation has global ideas about everything. Such as how to live, work and travel. We aren't listening to them very much, of course. But in the end, we will have to.
We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.

Email:

SUBMIT

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Get the most important local news stories sent straight to your inbox daily.

All-day Indian cafe opens in Redwood City with a focus on takeout
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 12,768 views

Menlo Park Now Has A Tremendous Opportunity to Transform Its Downtown
By Dana Hendrickson | 19 comments | 4,692 views

Polar vortexes and clean energy in the Upper Midwest
By Sherry Listgarten | 4 comments | 3,846 views

Union demands too many: Open up the schools now!
By Diana Diamond | 13 comments | 2,957 views

Premarital and Couples: What Happens in Vegas Doesn't Stay in Vegas
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,852 views

 

Submit your story today

The 35th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Submit your short story here by April 2 (online submissions only). Stories must be 2,500 words or less. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details