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David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day

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    b2060880335compartió una citahace 3 años
    an American raised to believe that the citizens of Europe should be grateful for all the wonderful things we’ve done
    Юлияcompartió una citahace 7 años
    I’ve never considered myself an across-the-board apologist for the French, but there’s a lot to be said for an entire population that never, under any circumstances, talks during the picture. I’ve sat through Saturday-night slasher movies with audiences of teenagers and even then nobody has said a word. I can’t remember the last time I’ve enjoyed silence in an American theater. It’s easy to believe that our audiences spend the day saying nothing, actually saving their voices for the moment the picture begins. At an average New York screening I once tapped the shoulder of the man in front of me, interrupting his spot review to ask if he planned on talking through the entire movie.

    “Well … yeah. What about it?” He said this with no trace of shame or apology. It was as if I’d asked if he planned to circulate his blood or draw air into his lungs. “Gee, why wouldn’t I?” I moved away from the critic and found myself sitting beside a clairvoyant who loudly predicted the fates of the various characters seen moving their lips up on the screen. Next came an elderly couple constantly convinced they were missing something. A stranger would knock on the door, and they’d ask, “Who’s he?” I wanted to assure them that all their questions would be answered in due time, but I don’t believe in talking during movies, so I moved again, hoping I might be lucky enough to find a seat between two people who had either fallen asleep or died.

    At a theater in Chicago I once sat beside a man who watched the movie while listening to a Cubs game on his transistor radio. When the usher was called, the sports fan announced that this was a free country and that he wanted to listen to the goddamn game. “Is there a law against doing both things at once?” he asked. “Is there a law? Show me the law, and I’ll turn off my radio.”
    Юлияcompartió una citahace 7 años
    The New York Times puzzles grow progressively harder as the week advances, with Monday being the easiest and Saturday requiring the sort of mind that can bend spoons. It took me several days to complete my first Monday puzzle, and after I’d finished, I carried it around in my wallet, hoping that someone might stop me on the street and ask to see it. “No!” I imagined the speaker saying, “You mean to say you’re only forty years old and you completed this puzzle all by yourself?
    Юлияcompartió una citahace 7 años
    Because my former boyfriend was so good-looking, I had always insisted that he must also be stupid, the reason being that it was simply unfair for someone to be blessed with both chiseled features and basic conversational skills. He was, of course, much smarter than I gave him credit for, and he eventually proved his intelligence by breaking up with me. We both wound up moving to New York, where over time we developed what currently passes for a casual friendship. I stopped by his office one afternoon, hoping that maybe he’d lost a few teeth, and there he was, leaning back in his chair and finishing the Friday New York Times puzzle with a ballpoint pen. The capital city of Tuvalu, a long-forgotten Olympic weight lifter, a fifteen-letter word for dervish: “Oh, that,” he said. “It’s just something I do with my hands while I’m on the phone.”

    I was devastated.
    Юлияcompartió una citahace 7 años
    When I was young, I went to the theater at the nearby shopping center and watched a movie about a talking Volkswagen. I believe the little car had a taste for mischief but I can’t be certain, as both the movie and the afternoon proved unremarkable and have faded from my memory. Hugh saw the same movie a few years after it was released. His family had left the Congo by this time and were living in Ethiopia. Like me, Hugh saw the movie by himself on a weekend afternoon. Unlike me, he left the theater two hours later, to find a dead man hanging from a telephone pole at the far end of the unpaved parking lot. None of the people who’d seen the movie seemed to care about the dead man. They stared at him for a moment or two and then headed home, saying they’d never seen anything as crazy as that talking Volkswagen. His father was late picking him up, so Hugh just stood there for an hour, watching the dead man dangle and turn in the breeze. The death was not reported in the newspaper, and when Hugh related the story to his friends, they said, “You saw the movie about the talking car?”
    Юлияcompartió una citahace 7 años
    I know it sounds calculating, but if you’re not cute, you might as well be clever.
    Юлияcompartió una citahace 7 años
    That was the root of the problem right there. Visiting Americans will find more warmth in Tehran than they will in New York, a city founded on the principle of Us versus Them. I don’t speak Latin but have always assumed that the city motto translates to either Go Home or We Don’t Like You, Either. Like me, most of the people I knew had moved to New York with the express purpose of escaping Americans such as Bonnie. Fear had worked in our favor until a new mayor began promoting the city as a family theme park. His campaign had worked, and now the Bonnies were arriving in droves, demanding the same hospitality they’d received last month in Orlando.
    Юлияcompartió una citahace 7 años
    Because I am both a glutton and a masochist, my standard complaint, “That was so bad,” is always followed by “And there was so little of it!”
    Юлияcompartió una citahace 7 años
    Aristophanes had never smoked a cigarette in his life. “Neither did Jane Austen,” he said. “Or the Brontës.”

    I jotted these names into my notebook alongside the word Troublemaker, and said I’d look into it. Because I was the writing teacher, it was automatically assumed that I had read every leather-bound volume in the Library of Classics. The truth was that I had read none of those books, nor did I intend to. I bluffed my way through most challenges with dim memories of the movie or miniseries based upon the book in question, but it was an exhausting exercise and eventually I learned it was easier to simply reply with a question, saying, “I know what Flaubert means to me, but what do you think of her?”
    Юлияcompartió una citahace 7 años
    The cat’s death struck me as the end of an era. It was, of course, the end of her era, but with the death of a pet there’s always that urge to string black crepe over an entire ten- or twenty-year period. The end of my safe college life, the last of my thirty-inch waist, my faltering relationship with my first real boyfriend: I cried for it all and wondered why so few songs were written about cats.
    Юлияcompartió una citahace 7 años
    My father is the type who once recited a bawdy limerick, saying, “A woman I know who’s quite blunt / had a bear trap installed in her… Oh, you know. It’s a base, vernacular word for the vagina.” He can absolutely kill a joke.
    Юлияcompartió una citahace 7 años
    At an early age my sister Gretchen exhibited a remarkable talent for drawing and painting. Her watercolors of speckled mushrooms and bonneted girls were hung with pride in the family room, and her skill was encouraged with private lessons and summer visits to sketching camp. Born with what my mother defined as an “artistic temperament,” Gretchen floated from blossom to blossom in a blissful haze. Staring dreamily up at the sky, she tripped over logs and stepped out in front of speeding bicycles. When the casts were placed on her arms and legs, she personalized them with Magic Marker daisies and fluffy clouds. Physically she’d been stitched up more times than the original flag, but mentally nothing seemed to touch her. You could tell Gretchen anything in strict confidence, knowing that five minutes later she would recall nothing but the play of shadows on your face. It was like having a foreign-exchange student living in our house.
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