Sunday, February 17, 2019

We caught a Lyft to JFK. The driver said he was from Uzbekistan.

“How old is Nighted States?” he said in his nearly impenetrable accent.

I gave an answer, dumbly, lazily neglecting to really do the math. “Two-hundred, uh. Two-hundred fifty,” I said. “Two-hundred forty-five. Or something.”

It’s like when someone asks you for the time and you’re afraid to be precise. Three-thirty, you say. Maybe three thirty-five. But you feel like an asshole saying three thirty-two. Even if it’s the truth. But everyone knows what time it is. Everyone knows 1776.

He didn’t seem to hear me anyway. He gave me the age of Uzbekistan in a statement that seemed prepared. Two-thousand something, except it wasn’t something of course, it was as precise as mine was vague: two-thousand six-hundred eighty-two. Or something.

“That’s old,” I said. Of course.

We were just now getting on the Belt Parkway, five o’clock in the morning. Maybe four fifty-nine.