He’ll Just Have to Wait

Everyone is all smiles on stage at this press conference in China’s equivalent of the White House Press Room. We were only a little bit happy. Minutes earlier, the four people you see in the front of the room were sitting in stony silence, broken only by the occasional call from China’s Minister of the […]

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Sunrise Over the Fuel Farm

5:30 am. Monday morning. Styrfoam cup of coffee. Faint smell of jet fuel in my shirt. Hair doesn’t smell like jet wash yet. Feet on the old metal desk, leaning back in the metal chair. The handful of pre-open morning orders done. Planes topped off. Last night’s pushed into their hangars, the flight line populated with early morning […]

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I Know You’ve Been Wondering

Like a bee sting. At first. The immediate reflex is to reach for whatever is causing such pain and try to kill it. But it’s very tough, too hard to do anything other than throw it. Bee stings hurt, then abate. This is the opposite. It’s more like being touched with a hot poker or a lit cigarette. […]

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A Questionable Storm

RMB 4 million. That’s four million yuan. Roughly $500,000 in American dollars. I’m told it was never spent. That the rockets were never launched, the planes never flew. The clouds never seeded. Pouring rain. Sheets. Buckets. Walls of water. Pouring straight down. Like I’ve never seen before. One of my mementos is a picture of me standing at […]

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A Weeping Kiss

So there I stood, atop Tiananmen Rostrum, looking at the lights of Tiananmen Square, fully ablaze for a square mile in our honor. Dinner was done and we had alll been transported here before breaking for the evening. A nice, quiet moment to review the day and plan for tomorrow with a few colleagues. Periodically, […]

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A Very Good Rainy Monday.

Monday – gave my umbrella to a soggy oldish man who was waiting at an uncovered bus stop, resulting in getting to work wet. This morning, running to catch a train, he stopped me on the corner of my street where I had seen him to give me the umbrella back. Said he was getting […]

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Don’t Get Too Comfortable

Dateline: United Club. Slow night. 9:00 pm: Kids making a ruckus over by the airline club coffee machine. Incessant paging of Ms. Xxxx, a passenger on a United flight to Sydney. Woman peacefully snores away in a chair by the window. 9:30 pm: Another flight announced. A bunch of people gather their things and noisily […]

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Hold This for Me, Please?

On the subway. Guy (over 6 feet tall) is sound asleep, wearing giant headphones, leaning precariously to the left, about a 70 degree angle above the seat. There is an empty seat between him and a woman on his left. Woman on his left eyes him warily, watching his progress as he slowly drops downward. […]

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Some Places Should Remain Secret

There’s something about sitting for breakfast in an unpretentious diner, with reasonable prices while the owner, whose English is passable, but not great, leans on the counter next to a mug to which is tied a half-deflated foil balloon that says “You’re the Best”, chatting with a customer. Sitting at the counter on the other […]

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Sometimes, Cheerful is Too Cheerful

Me: I don’t feel like undressing and emptying my pockets today, may we just do a pat down? Tsa woman: Yes (waves me through). Step through to that nice man on the other side. JAMAL – male assist, please. Tsa guy on the other side: Hello, sir, Its a quiet day. Which of us fine […]

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