“After you get settled, I would love to talk about what we can do to promote centrism and moderation. I am one of only 12 Dems left in a GOP district (the only woman) and think that we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down.”—Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., in an email to Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, a Republican. Giffords sent the email the night before she was shot at a public event. (via officialssay)
When a 13-year-old girl can sit in math class, hide her Hello Kitty smart phone behind her textbook, and pull up such an extreme video in less time than it would take her to text a vote for her favorite American Idol contestant, we’ve certainly reached some kind of new societal landmark. It’s important, however, to distinguish between what has changed and what hasn’t.
An Open Letter to the People Who Made My Travel Not-So-Bad
I flew from Boston to Newark to Buffalo on 12/30, and it was ridiculously busy every single step of the way, filled with passengers who looked stressed and exhausted. I was dreading flying, given the back-up I was sure was still hurting Boston and Newark airports after the post-Christmas blizzard, but there were several people who made it an absolute delight, and though I’ll probably never see them again, they still deserve a thanks -
1. To the guy in front of me in the security line - He had a Bloomsbury copy of Deathly Hallows tucked under his arm, and given that we were stuck in a twenty mile long security line with nothing to do, I commented on it. Turns out he had just started reading the series about ten days ago and was rocketing through it, finishing one of the books about every other day, and he began putting out his best effort to get me to tell him what happens. I pointed out if he really wanted to know he could just Google it, which horrified him (“But I don’t really want it spoiled by the INTERNET!”) Also, turns out he is also a Nick Hornby and Dave Eggers fan, so we had a nice chat about that, so that a forty minute wait through security passed pretty pleasantly. Thanks.
2. To the woman who bought my sandwich - For some reason, the old woman (I’d guess she was maybe late seventies/early eighties) ahead of me in line at the food court paid for my sandwich. I didn’t even find out she’d done it till I went to pay and the clerk told me she’d already done it. When I turned to thank her, she’d already gotten her food and left. I paid for the person behind me. Pay it forward, you know.
3. To the Jet Blue employee - My flight landed in Newark late, and I had about ten minutes to on my flight to Buffalo before it left. Panicked, I got off the plane, searching for Gate 101. There was Gate 98, 99, 100, 102 - wait, 102? Did I need to walk at the barrier between Gates 100 and 102 or something? I walked up to the Jet Blue employee standing at Gate 100 and asked where 101 was. “Oh,” he said. “Other end of the concourse.” I gasped. “You’re kidding me.” He raised his eyebrows. “Nope. Trying to catch a flight?” I told him I needed to be there in ten minutes, then spun around and started to take off. “HEY, girl!” he yelled after me. When I turned around, he grinned, put a hand on my shoulder, and said, “Relax. I’ll call them and tell them you’re on the way. They’ll hold it for you for a minute or two. Not like anyone’s in a big hurry to get to Buffalo anyway.”
4. To the four OWGIS (old white guys in suits) in first class - From Newark to Buffalo, there were four men in Army uniforms, apparently on their way home. Four OWIGSs in first class stood up and offered the Army guys their seats. Army guys declined, (“Thank you very much, sir, but really, we’re fine -“), but the OWIGSs insisted, and the Army folks eventually took the first class seats.