I used to have these ideas that Carmen said were crazy, and she would spin her finger around her temple and look up into the air the way people do, to clearly distinguish those crazy people from the normal you and me. “People who spin their finger around like that are the really crazy ones,” I said back to her through a mouthful of curly fries. Everyone knew that you could tell things about people by the gestures they made, by some of their word choices, like people who use the word “cuckoo” or the word “splendid” or “hari-kari.”
God didn't make Flushing; it's all landfill, ashes that the garbage men of Brooklyn dumped on Queens. Rats used to run all over. People who lived in shanties trapped animals here. My grandmother remembers this -- watching trash torch and glow at night across a field. "All of this," she says, looking out at the garden apartments broken up by big brick buildings, "It was garbage once."