Atta Ikede

October 4, 2008

Cardboard Cutouts

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 11:01 am

Ah .. Julie and PB. Your comments on my last post made me smile and writing this sentence right now made me smile again. Thank you :)

There’s a short story called A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, the author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (I’m humming the song right now .. what a great song). This story, and the Nick Adams series by Hemingway have totally burned themselves into my memory. They’re just so .. gripping! I can’t explain it. Months after reading the stories, I find myself remembering story fragments when my life overlaps with that of a character’s. Like when I made pancakes this morning, I thought about Nick Adams making pancakes, and how how he used clean wedges of wood to flip them but I use my trusty Ikea flipper. lol. I know. It sounds a little nuts.

In the Truman Capote story, the main characters buy ingredients to make fruitcakes, as is their christmas tradition. Most of these fruitcakes end up going to strangers they’ve met over the years. A young couple who got lost near their house, the bus driver, etc. Very few fruitcakes go to actual friends and family.

It is fun to chat with strangers sometimes. I’ve met some really interesting people that way, like the Muslim woman I met on a stopover in Vegas. Though she’s a Muslim, she goes to Church! She was trained as a psychiatrist in Pakistan but now makes a living selling handmade handicrafts and greeting cards she decorates with colourful, childish illustrations. It’s so great when you meet somebody who is surprisingly interesting. If I had a habit of making fruitcakes at Christmas, I would mail her one.

One of the disappointing things about living here is that many of the strangers I’ve met here have turned out to be total cardboard cutouts. They are entirely undeserving of a fruitcake.

So far, these cardboard people I’ve met fall into one of the following two categories:

– the socialist American – yes. I’m so happy to hear for the billionth time that you hate George Bush, you think Americans are stupid, you’re embarassed to be American and wonder why anybody would ever move here, you love local food, you love small restaurants, you love your gym/other expensive fitness regimen and you’re really worried about the economy. Give me a break. You’re rich! Stop pretending you’re a regular joe long enough to at least pick the arugula out from between your teeth. These people are not so bad though, because they’re sometimes passionate about what they believe and seem well educated on the issues they like to harp about.

– the superficial news/blog/digg/2.0 junkie – Every conversation starts with “did you read about ..”, but instead of getting ready to hear something really interesting, you have to steel yourself to prepare for something really lame, because these people don’t read things longer than a few paragraphs. They’re not going to read serious magazines, books or articles. They look at the headlines on digg, scroll through blogs and skim articles in slate so they can repeat back to you what they read along with their limited insights. Once I’ve found out i’m talking to one of these people I just get away from them.

I’m sure there are more categories out there, but I was thinking about it, and it makes sense that the above categories have an abundant presence here. It is California, after all, and I do work in a tech sector! Haha. I guess there’s no avoiding them.



  1. For christmas I recommend cookies not fruitcake. I read breakfast at tiffany’s the book has more depth then the movie. I’m thinking reading his other work.

    Comment by Julie — October 8, 2008 @ 10:07 am

  2. Now I am going away to do my breakfast, after
    having my breakfast coming yet again to read other news.

    Comment by all about computers — April 25, 2013 @ 7:09 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: