In 1982, when I was—well, let’s just say that my age was still rendered in a single digit—my Great-Aunt Y., who was visiting from wherever she lived at the time, decided she wanted me to go on a trip with her. Everything she told me about it sounded exotic and very exciting, so it was with tremendous anticipation that I walked into our living room with her to announce our plan to my parents.
FAUSTUS’S GREAT AUNT: I want to take Faustus on a trip.
MRS. FAUSTUS: That sounds great.
MR. FAUSTUS: Where do you want to take him?
FAUSTUS’S GREAT AUNT: Afghanistan.
MR. and MRS. FAUSTUS: ?!
MR. and MRS. FAUSTUS: !?
(Afghanistan in 1982, for those of you who weren’t alive then, was a very dangerous place, occupied by the Soviets and embroiled in a civil war.)
MRS. FAUSTUS: (makes choking sound)
MR. FAUSTUS: Um.
MRS. FAUSTUS: No.
MR. FAUSTUS: Absolutely not.
FAUSTUS: But whynotwhynotwhynot?
MRS. FAUSTUS: Did you actually expect us to agree to this?
MRS. FAUSTUS: Why would you make such a ridiculous suggestion?
FAUSTUS’S GREAT AUNT: Because it’s a crime that this child has not seen the Khyber Pass by moonlight.
MR. FAUSTUS: …
FAUSTUS: I want to see the Khyber Pass by moonlight! It’s beautiful! Aunt Y. says so!
MRS. FAUSTUS: …
MR. FAUSTUS: There’s the small matter of the civil war.
FAUSTUS’S GREAT AUNT: Oh, don’t be ridiculous.
MRS. FAUSTUS: And the Soviet occupation.
FAUSTUS’S GREAT AUNT: We’ll just take side roads.
(It is clear that Mr. and Mrs. Faustus are not going to relent.)
FAUSTUS’S GREAT AUNT: So you want Faustus to grow up into a provincial buffoon?
MRS. FAUSTUS: Yes.
(Faustus runs out of the room in tears.)
The thing is, I still kind of want to go. But, while I somehow believe that I’d be absolutely safe under her protection, she died seven or eight years ago. So I don’t really know what to do.