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David Sedaris


This photograph of David Sedaris is from Wikicommons, a website that has images that anyone can use


At first, I loved David Sedaris for his quirkiness; the Santaland Stories, his off-beat expensive clothes from Japanese department stores, his house named Sea Section on the Carolina coast, and his Fitbit obsessed all-day rubbish collecting in England that earned him the honor of having a garbage truck in his name. But then I came to appreciate his writing, particularly the way he made himself the butt of his sharp humor in stories that might otherwise be sad. More recently reading his two diaries, Theft by Finding and Carnival of Snackery, have been inspirations to observe, document and refine, though I'll likely never spend nights at the local IHOP with a carafe of coffee, watching the show unfold. Here are a few of my recent observations.


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A friend and I joined a posse of middle aged Indian women at the Coolidge to hear Jhumpa Lahiri read from her new book, Roman Stories. She is statuesque, somehow pulling off a combination of Indian, American and Italian. Her voice was quiet and monotone, her facial expressions reminding us she would rather be somewhere else. She believes good writers need to be outsiders, perhaps because during her childhood in Rhode Island, her Bengali mother would treat her as an alien if English words came out of her mouth.


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As I sat on the pedicure throne deliberating over orange or a Dutch greeny blue, the woman who was taking the nail polish off my toes jumped up suddenly, excusing herself. When she returned a minute later, she had on her beige teddy bear coat and was carrying her hand bag, a much used Target bag and a bowl. Looking down at her feet, in shaky English she apologized for leaving, she had just found out her father had died.. What heartless world would allow no break in service as Leslie took over my toes where Vicky left off, while Vicky with her bundles, looked out the window of a C train, trying to metabolize something so shocking?


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Walking on Aspinwall Street on my way to the Muddy River, a woman walked towards me and as she passed, said passionately, I love you too.


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Lido beach, Sarasota


While the snowbirds had only begun their migration to Sarasota, it was still possible to witness the humiliation of retired corporate men decision-makers that are now just old, without skills to entertain themselves, slaves to their wives' rules, itineraries and friends.


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Sitting on the balcony of the Ritz bar reading my Carl Hiassen book and sipping a dirty vodka martini, a mother and daughter who finished each other's sentences joined me. The daughter, from LA, a day after being left at the altar, packed up her belongings and moved to Denver, where she had never been but had a friend. She begrudged her ex-, among other things, for not understanding why called her dog, Charlotte, her daughter.


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Staying with good friends at their country house, it's quiet enough to hear brittle leaves land on the porch. In the middle of the night, I heard the urgent and repeated sound of a large animal. We had previously seen deer, fox, coyote, bear. It was at once deep, but too high pitched for a bear, perhaps a bleating moose, and then in sleep delirium, I imagined a hippo or rhino. The next morning, my hosts clarified, it was a husband.


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