Dan and Ken

Joan always used the phrase going into town whenever she went to Hastings. Often Dan and I would either be playing video games upstairs in our room or playing video games downstairs in Kenny's new bedroom so she would have to yell it up or down a stairwell. She also used this phrase in her normal voice if we happened to not be playing video games, but in my memory I hear the yelling from afar.

Her voice was friendly. And I especially liked hearing her yell to us up and down the stairs. When Joan let us know she was going to town, except for special occasions when it was just her and Mishay having a girls' date, it was an open invitation. Dan, Ken, and I could come along if we wanted. It was rare that Dan and I would want to go. Whenever we did go, it was always Kenny who somehow convinced us.

"Come on. Quit being so lazy. Let's go!"


"Quit being such a pussy. Let's go!"

These tactics might not seem persuasive now, but at that time it worked. I hated getting called a pussy by Kenny. Not even in the way where I'd hate Kenny. I'd just be fired up to a way to do whatever it takes become less of a pussy. Even if that meant going shopping with Kenny. 13 year old Abe wasn't sharp enough to figure out that going shopping wouldn't actually make me the opposite of a pussy -- whatever that was... cool?. Also that Abe wasn't aware enough to figure out that Kenny just wanted to hang out and do something together but didn't know how to ask in any other way than calling his younger brother and his younger brother's friend pussies.

Dan was less ambitious in such cause. He brushed it off easily and continued whatever he was doing: usually video games or watching TV.

These situations split me in half. At first I'd be having fun with Dan until Ken came crashing in with this new opportunity. Initially I'd want to continue hanging out with Dan until Ken would begin his persuasion. But then once I was on board with the new idea, I'd hope for Dan to come with but often he'd be as solid as a rock. 

These times would make me wish we could just get along together. It was after some time I learned this wasn't always possible. Sometimes I'd need to go with Ken.  And sometimes I'd need to stake a stern no and stay with Dan. Each time I felt bad both for the thing I was missing out on and the rejection I was handing out.

It's funny how we remember some voices and the way things are said.  Joan yelling up or down the stairs and Kenny coaxing you to go into town.  I used to hang out at my friend Bob's house and still remember the way his parents yelled downstairs when they needed something, or when they were going somewhere. That memory came to me and it's still so clear even though I haven't thought about it in years.
2021-03-16 01:08:51
My dreams lately have been featuring an ensemble of people I haven't thought of in years. I can't think of any other reason for this than the fact that I've been writing about this part of my life consistently for weeks now. Weird side effect lol
2021-03-18 14:32:22
I think Americans who spent time in multi floor houses will always have this memory of parental stairwell yelling lol
2021-03-18 14:32:52