June 5, 2008

Excotic, Eccentric, Free-Spirited Cousin

My home town of Stamford, CT is a little big city and if you're family has lived here for a few generations it is more of a big small town. Plus, you're probably related to a third of the population and at least 10 people on your street.

This morning I went for a walk in my parents' neighborhood and passed the houses of numerous cousins. It is suburbia so people generally aren't out and about but this morning I noticed a tiny little sign that said, "Used Books" on one of the street signs. There in the driveway sat two teenagers with a folding table and chairs and a few used books, maybe 10 total. Very random selection at that.

I pursued their books, which were well chosen library cast-offs and since I was their first customer they offered me a free one of my choice. Good thing since I didn't have any money. After chatting with them briefly about the smell of used library books I said, "I think we're cousins". After exchanges of last names it was clear that we were related this way and that. Very small town conversation.

The guys held on to my book while I completed my walk and when I returned their mom was hanging out of the garage saying, "Amy Kweskin stopped by to say hello?" Then one of the guys said, "Yes, she's here now." This was followed by the obligatory conversation about what I do, "I'm between lives", where I live, "I'm between homes" and why I'm here, "I'm slowly making my way across the country back to San Francisco." The guys were so impressed that I had lived in London and was returning to a cool city like San Francisco. Made me feel like the exotic cousin which is quite an achievement amongst a family of exotic, eccentric, free-spirits like us.