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11 December, 2007

An Uncomfortable Flight

What would you do if you were flying upper business class and got seated next to a man who was sobbing uncontrollably for his dead mother?

David Sedaris -- author of Me Talk Pretty One Day, brother of Amy -- tells us what he did in a delightful essay for the New Yorker, which could've only been more enjoyable if I was listening to him read it. Incidentally, if you've never heard his readings, you're in for a treat. Here are some select ones he did for NPR.

This story reminded me of my first flight to the United States (a harrowing experience in itself but that's another story). I was migrating for good, and as the plane was taking off, it just occurred to me that life was unpredictable and that any of my loved ones being left behind maybe dead and gone before I'm able to come back for a visit. The thought of this made me burst in tears.

It upset me so much I didn't realize my seatbelt wasn't fastened right, until this Marine seated next to me pointed it out. My tears didn't escape his attention either, and he kindly asked if I was okay. I nodded my head through my stifled sobs, and the poor guy who didn't seem to know what to do squirmed in his seat for a few moments. I could tell he wanted to ask what's the matter and if he could help, but decided against it. Maybe he didn't want to risk getting me more upset and having the spigot of tears flow nonstop.

That was a good call, because I would've probably hiccupped my way through the Pacific Ocean if he did. Eventually, I managed to calm down by forcing myself to look forward to a new life in a country full of promise and possibilities. I even managed to smile a little, which probably relieved my seatmate the Marine.

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posted at 9:53 PM by City Muse


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