She had served the NBP and me at a local restaurant for a year, but then she disappeared. We had assumed that she had moved on, but another server told us that she and the restaurant owner were living together. A week ago, the NBP and I went to the restaurant for the first time in over a year, and we learned that the owner and the server had become engaged. “I gave her a ring last month,” he said. I asked when the wedding would be. He confused me by indicating that the two were not going to have a wedding, but eventually I realized that “wedding” to him meant the reception. Instead, they were planning a City Hall marriage. When she had waited on us, she was studying for a graduate degree in international relations. The owner told us that after an unpaid internship for a year, she now had a job at the United Nations and was thrilled. “She even thinks the UN pens are marvelous,” he said. The owner is stocky and dark. He was born in Jordan. The former server is tall, willowy, and blonde. When years ago we had asked where she was from, she replied, “From Siberia. Near Kazakhstan. The best part.” The Siberian and the Jordanian falling in love at a neighborhood Mideast restaurant in Brooklyn is perhaps something that could happen in many places, but to me this is a New York story.
“Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
The friend confidently reported that if the HBG (Has Been Guy) were convicted of the crimes for which he is being investigated, he could not become president again. I asked why he thought that, and replied, “A convicted felon can’t be president.” I told him—in the nicest way possible–that he was wrong. The Constitution does not forbid a felon from the presidency. Instead, it has three restrictions: the president must be a “natural born citizen”; the president must be at least thirty-five years old; and the president must have been a resident of the United States for fourteen years. The friend, convinced that I was blowing smoke, pulled out his phone and said, “I am going to look that up.” I said, “Go to Article II of the Constitution.” (The qualifications provision is Art. II, Sec. 1.) He could not get a signal and that ended the discussion, but I still wondered how he got this piece of “information.” I considered that he must have thought that because convicted felons could not vote, they could not be president. I had said that the BL (Big Loser) might not be able to vote if he were a convicted felon, but he could be president. He said that I was wrong; felons could now vote in Florida. (In all but two states, felons are disenfranchised, but the length of disenfranchisement varies. As I understand Florida law, felons can now vote once they have completed all the terms of their sentences. If the BL is in jail or on probation or parole, as I understand Florida law, he could not vote.) Apparently, the friend’s belief that a felon was ineligible to be president was not a mere extension of the fact of the disenfranchisement of felons, but I did not find out the source of his “knowledge.” I did learn, yet again, however, that misinformation is not the monopoly of the right.
In the fair and balanced department: I wrote recently that reading A Farewell to Arms in my maturity, I found it unreadable—vapid, jejeune, and simply bad. However, I recently reread Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. It is a good book. Perhaps a very good book.