Thursday, December 27, 2007

David Sedaris in The New Yorker

I thought this was hilarious, at least until he started up with the flatulence jokes. (But some people might find that hilarious too.) David is a funny gay guy living with his partner in France.

The night flight to Paris leaves J.F.K. at 7 P.M. and arrives at de Gaulle the next day at about 8:45 A.M. French time. Between takeoff and landing, there’s a brief parody of an evening: dinner is served, the trays are cleared, and four hours later it’s time for breakfast. The idea is to trick the body into believing it has passed a night like any other—that your unsatisfying little nap was actually sleep and now you are rested and deserving of an omelette.

Hoping to make the lie more convincing, many passengers prepare for bed. I’ll watch them line up outside the bathroom, some holding toothbrushes, some dressed in slippers or loose-fitting pajama-type outfits. Their slow-footed padding gives the cabin the feel of a hospital ward: the dark aisles, corridors; the flight attendants, nurses. The hospital feeling grows even stronger once you leave coach. Up front, where the seats recline almost flat, like beds, the doted-on passengers lie under their blankets and moan. I’ve heard, in fact, that the airline staff often refers to the business-class section as “the I.C.U.,” because the people there demand such constant attention. They want what their superiors are getting in first class, so they complain incessantly, hoping to get bumped up.

There are only two classes on the airline I normally take between France and the United States—coach and something they call Business Elite. . . .

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