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Forget the floating device 0

Dear Bradshaw,

We arrived in California last Wednesday, nothing to it but twelve and a half hours on the airplane. Which means I got on the plane, read for as long as I could stand it, wrote on my computer until the battery ran out, watched the only two movies worth watching (La Ciociara by De Sica and The Concert by Mihaileanu), slept as long as humanly possible in the upright position and then, after waking, looked up at the flight map and saw that I had five more hours to go.

But that was just the time spent in the air. From leaving my apartment in Rome until arriving at my parents’ house in Fountain Valley, the entire trip took about twenty hours. T-W-E-N-T-Y. Figuring the time it took to get to Fiumicino airport, the fact that we arrived three hours early, the delayed departure, and adding the time it took to get off the plane at LAX, go through customs, and then retrieve our luggage, meet my parents, walk to their car and, finally, drive home, it took T-W-E-N-T-Y hours.

The worst part of it all is that I don’t like to fly. Not because I’m afraid of flying but because I’m afraid of falling. So when the turbulence kicks in — and there were some heart-halting moments — I’m over it. (“Land the plane immediately! Let me off! I surrender!”) I’m telling you, Shaw, I don’t hate turbulence. I loathe it. Despise it. When the plane starts knocking around I grip the armrests with all my might, involuntarily trying to squeeze them into strands of wire and shredded fabric.

I think the root of my problem is lack of control, you know, being completely helpless in the event of an emergency. If the plane goes down, I have only a floating device to save me. If I were on a sinking boat or a ship, I’d feel pretty safe with something to float on. But on an airplane I want a parachute. Forget the floating device when your airplane’s engines stall at 40,000 feet in the air. Give me a parachute, a rabbit’s foot, a four-leaf clover, and an ice cream cone. (At least I could enjoy the ice cream if the other objects failed me.)

Anyway, I made it. We made it. And we’re in California for ten more days. So far we’re having a great time. We went to Disneyland yesterday, thanks to Brent’s free tickets. It was Francesca’s fourth time, my four hundredth. Speaking of Brent, have I told you about our bet that the world will end in our lifetime? I say it will. He says it won’t. If it ends, I win five dollars. If it doesn’t, he wins one. The way I see it, I win either way. After all, if the world ends, I win five bucks, and if it doesn’t, well, praise the Lord for that.

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