Archive for September 25th, 2006

Time to spare

September 25th, 2006

Things to do at the airport when your flight is delayed:

1. Get your shoes shined. Surprisingly sensual!

2. Take an extra moment and use the tissue paper toilet seat cover.

tissue paper

3. Do some wildlife photography. I spotted this cricket on the concourse, and it reminded me of the mouse I photographed on the floor of the Philadelphia train station in June. As I tried to get a better shot, it climbed onto my shoe and up my leg. I thought of bringing it along to Atlanta, but it jumped off.

4. Have a properly-steeped cup of tea.


5. Catch up on your reading.
tender land
This is the most astonishing book. The Tender Land, by Kathleen Finneran. It’s a family memoir about her brother’s suicide. But the most moving thing about it so far (I’m on page 75) is its description of a loving, intact family. A functional family memoir—what a concept. Yet it’s not remotely sentimental or predictable. It reminds me of something my friend Judith Levine recently said that a friend of hers said: Tolstoy had it wrong, it’s unhappy families that are all alike.

I actually went to college for a brief period with the author, Kathleen Finneran. We bonded around being lonely, socially awkward transfer students. She left school after a few months, though, and I haven’t been in touch with her since 1979. But I’m going to see her when I’m in St. Louis at the end of the week. It’s weird that after our little oasis of friendship in college we both went on to not only have suicides in our family, but to write memoirs about them. Oh, and we have the same publisher.