Jane Kramer, The New Yorker (23 July 2012)

From Personal History:  “A Reporter at Odds”

The fact remains that, given the choice between a vacation without a notebook and a revolution with one, most of us would pass on the yellow sundress or the cargo pants and buy a flak jacket.  The advantage is that I can pack in a half hour for any work trip, as long as I have a daily supply of pens, a stack of my favorite interview pads —  six by nine, lined, spiral on top —  and a couple of clean black turtlenecks and jeans.  But how do you pack for a vacation?  Who would willingly exchange license and anonymity for the role of gawker in a sundress?

I did.  For three weeks in January, I became a tourist.  No notebooks, no Bic twelve-packs.  No interviews at all —  an exercise in self-restraint triggered by the news that years of frequent-flier miles, racked up in the pursuit of stories, were going to expire in February.  After four days spent attempting communication with the “reward specialists” at a United phone bank near Mumbai, I managed to nail two round-trip reservations for Bangkok, which was as far as my miles would take us.  That settled, the question became:  What would I do for three weeks in Southeast Asia if I wasn’t working?  What would my husband, an anthropologist between semesters with his own notebook (spiral on the left), do?

Self is so glad to know that even Jane Kramer of The New Yorker experiences frequent flier discombobulation.  And to think self had the temerity to think, while on hold after placing her nth call to United Mileage Plus:  Is this really the best possible use of my life for the next four hours?

Here’s the deal, dear blog readers:  The reason self doesn’t have to teach so much, and the reason she flies here there and everywhere, is that she has come into her inheritance.  What a loaded word.  It is true.  Your dear blog mistress hit the Stakes-of-Life jackpot and decided to see if she could balance the quiet anonymity of Redwood City, California with the rest of the world.  Now life is such a dizzying mess that she gardens with rollers in her hair.  Seriously.  This morning, she spent an hour on her knees planting celosia in between the lamb’s ears.  When she finally straightened up to brush some stray bangs off her hot, sweaty forehead, she encountered the unmistakable feel of plastic.  Lest you think that self routinely walks around with her (short, and getting ever shorter) hair in curlers, let’s just say that today was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.  And when she tells cousins her stories, they always respond with, “IF that’s true . . . ”

You think India and Claremont (California) and Bacolod and Scotland and Amsterdam and Paris were the extent of self’s travels for this year?  Ixnay!  There are at least three more trips on the horizon.  That means a whole mountain of adventures.  And more grumpiness from The Man.  But, c’est la vie, c’est la vie, c’est la vie . . .

1 Comment

  1. September 10, 2012 at 4:00 am

    wow – how nice

    wish that happened to me


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