Arnon Grunberg



My mother’s neighbor is 95 and she got a new phone, a present from her cousin.
This afternoon, she came to my mother’s garden and she said: “They took away my old phone and they gave me this new phone for my birthday. I don’t want a new phone; I want my old phone. And the letter ‘g’ doesn’t function on this phone, because the letter ‘g’ resembles the number ‘9’. The letter ‘g’ is very problematic for computers did you know that? The letter ‘g’ is a huge problem. But I don’t care; I need the letter ‘g’. We live in amazing times, they can solve almost any problem, but even for a genius the letter ‘g’ is still a problem. My father always said: ‘You will need to become 100 years old and perhaps then you will experience world peace.’ In 5 years I’ll turn 100, but I’m not completely sure if world peace will be established by that time. Anyhow, first we need to solve the problem of the letter ‘g’. I had cauliflower for dinner and a little bit of meat; I don’t save the leftovers for the next day anymore. I’m too old for that. Cauliflower from yesterday, now that is something that makes me sick.” My mother nodded and I said: “You are right.”

I’m not sure if my mother’s neighbor is a profound thinker or a surrealist, or perhaps both. Anyhow, listening to her is always a pleasure.

My mother is fond of saying: “My neighbor is living in a fairy tale, but she is cooking dinner every night. You can live in a fairy tale without starving, it’s amazing.’

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