Airline Bumping, Circa Mid 90s

“Come here; I just want to talk to you,” she sings in a tone that belies daggers. Two flight attendants are poised by the cabin door, ready, I am certain, to slam it behind me.


Was I really so taken in by the razzmatazz of Hollywood? Or was it simply the same response, say, a hamster would have had after slumbering in such close proximity to another hamster?

Biting a Peach

biting into a peach at Trader Joe’s and then throwing it away is a freedom I have as a white person, no less one with gray hair and a Medicare card in her fanny pack.


Magical Performance

How could such gut-wrenching stories have resulted in such a magical performance?

Beijing and Bicycle Conundrum

It’s a Beijing conundrum because I don’t want to support the stolen bike industry by buying a new, used, probably stolen bike.

Ski and the City

Not everyone has as much attraction to strangers as I do, but if you do, with skis and the city and a camera, you have a great excuse.

Shopping in China

We prowl Yashow’s aisles, giggling like a pair of teens, assessing shoes and scarves, chattering at the leisurely pace of the senior citizen duo we now are.

radio old fashioned image

Worry Pastiche

Surveys showed that one in twelve listeners believed the story was real and that Martians were invading New Jersey.


I planned to videotape the Miss America and watch it with my daughters—after they returned to me from their dad—the way we always had. (I know, I’m a lowbrow.)

empty nest

Empty Nest Redux

Are two overnights a month better than four visits for a few hours each plus having her nearby for spontaneous additional visits?

worrywart empathy

Stranger on a Train

Regret is one of my least favorite feelings. In a few minutes I would be switching trains, and the opportunity to help this stranger on a train would soon expire . . .

parents and children reversals


That Greta’s son had set parental controls on his mother’s computer gave me more than just a chuckle; it gave me a jolt, reminding me of the parent-child reversals I had been noticing more and more in my own life.


Highway Safety: Truckin’ With Trucks

A truck driver once told me that his instructions were: if you think you are going to hit a car with, say, a family in it, then try to kill all the occupants, because the financial settlement would be lower than if they lived.

These Hmong kids missed my idea mugging the camera.

Freaky Friday in Laos

y very presence seemed to bring out the worrywart in my adventuresome Eliza, as though every day of our time together in Laos were Freaky Friday, as in the film of the same name in which mother and daughter find their personalities exchanged.

Dog as Transitional Object

I knew a 52-year-old man with a 26-year-old girlfriend, who still slept with her teddy bear, so by the principle of transitivity he too slept with the teddy bear.

ADD and The Worrywart

ADD and the Worrywart: This explains why every time I go to New York, I get more work done than when I’m home, writing on my quiet porch in Washington, D.C.

Public Toilet Mishaps

This of course led me to one of my common ruminations: What would be the cutoff for retrieving a precious item from a public toilet?