Diane’s parents are visiting St Andrews this week and they’ll be coming over to my place for dinner tomorrow evening. I’ve been so nervous about meeting them that this morning I accidentally got my earring caught in a coat hanger. (That makes three times in the last 72 hours.) I’ve been trying to decide what to prepare for dinner. At the second-hand bookstore on Market Street I found a 600-page cookbook that explained how to make rigatoni from scratch. But the cookbook was much too detailed for my tastes. The first chapter began with a complex quantum-mechanical explanation of how to create matter using nothing but a spatula, a baking sheet and a lepton.
I’ve always got along well with the mothers of the women I’ve dated—perhaps sometimes to a fault, like that time I got my fiancée’s mom pregnant. Oops! But it is Diane’s step-father that I am concerned about. He, after all, is white, Irish and Catholic, while I’m black, West Indian and irreligious. Consequently, I’m worried that he would find my low tolerance of alcohol unacceptable. However, I take consolation in the fact that despite whatever differences we may have, there is something we all share as human beings. Deep down inside of us all there is something that has no name, and that something is … Like I said, it has no name.