DIVING BOARD NOTES Odie tells Albert, a friend the family knew back in Iran, that I had a cocktail party, and they met my Armenian writer friend, and she found him intelligent and smokin’ hot. Odie is perfectly fluent in English, but connotation can still trip her up. A while back, I told her that when Americans think someone is nice-looking, they say, “smokin’ hot.” Albert’s twenty-two-year-old son seated next to me whispers, “She thinks he’s smoking hot?” I whisper back, “She also thinks you and I are smoking hot. It’s her phrase.” Albert, on the other side of me, whispers, “You are smoking pot?” Patrick, across from me, listening through the din, says, “No, I don’t like smoking pot.” Armen, a little hard of hearing, says to Patrick, “You like smoking pot?!” Albert whispers to me, “Pot is not so bad. I like Scotch better.” Odie, oblivious to their side conversations, finishes her recounting with a flourish: “And he’s such a good writer!
Diana Marcum (The Tenth Island: Finding Joy, Beauty, and Unexpected Love in the Azores)