When I lived in France, I volunteered a couple of times a week at a major expat cultural center. I’d intended just to help out at the soup kitchen and maybe with a little tutoring, but this somehow also turned into working the security desk, too, under the direction of a fiercely proprietary octogenarian Englishwoman, Nancy, who was despised by everyone else, but performed her volunteer tasks with such zeal that removing her seemed out of the question. Read More
At the airport, in a very long, very slow TSA security line, a friendly woman starts to talk.
“This is bad,” she says. She travels a great deal for work. In Dubai, she tells us, “the bins come off a conveyor belt—you don’t have to do anything.” No! we say, as we remove our shoes.
Yes, she assures us. In Dubai, she says, “the airport toilet seats were heated—and the air-conditioning was so high, it felt good.”
Tell us more, we say, as we wrestle with the stack of plastic bins.
In Dubai, she says, they were in and out of security within five minutes.
At this, we are mute with shock—and besides, a guard is shepherding us into line.
“Everything was covered in gold, I shit you not,” she says. “It was pathetic.”
Sadie Stein is contributing editor of The Paris Review, and the Daily’s correspondent.
Before today, I’d never done my citizen’s duty by reporting a suspicious package to authorities. I guess I’d never seen anything suspicious enough. And in a place like New York, the bystander effect sometimes doesn’t seem to obtain—even if you did see, say, a smoking suitcase riding the subway, three hundred people would have already called it in by the time you managed to get your phone out, each one of them surely going home to announce to friends and family that he, personally, had averted a bombing.
But today, I acted. I was in the security line at JFK when I spotted it: an orange can of Davis baking powder. It was unmistakable to anyone who’s done any baking, even if you sometimes buy Clabber Girl because you like the packaging. There it was, standing on the floor, right next to a security cordon and looking, to my eyes, very suspicious indeed. Read More
I’m not saying I smuggled a cheese ball through security and onto a domestic flight. That would be illegal, and I would never encourage anyone to break the law, by word or deed. Besides, only a total sociopath would have the hubris to boast of having pulled off such a feat.
But let’s say I had. Let’s say the cheese ball in question contained not just cheddar, blue cheese, and cream cheese, but also mustard and many seasonings. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that it had been rolled in finely chopped nuts. Let’s say I’d thought, These cheese balls are so good, and I’ve made such a large batch, that I believe I shall bring one to my parents. Read More
In her new book, Wanderlust, Eaves—a journalist and author who has worked for Forbes and previously published Bare: The Naked Truth About Stripping, about her time as an exotic dancer—does all of these things. Instead of making choices that follow neatly, one from the next—the job that brings you to a city where you meet the person you marry—the Eaves of Wanderlust makes decisions that consciously, thrillingly refuse to build on one another.
She travels to Cairo as a twenty-year-old college student. At twenty-three, she hikes the notoriously difficult Kokoda trail in Papua New Guinea. Fleeing the rekindling of her relationship with her ex-fiancé, Stu, she joins a husband and wife sailing from Whangarei to Tonga and nearly dies when their vessel is caught in a vicious storm on the open ocean. In person, Eaves may be slender and fair-haired, but she carries herself with a graceful, noticeable composure that makes it easy to imagine her haggling, at dusk, with a Jeep driver in Pakistan, trying to get him to lower the price of a ride she and her boyfriend desperately need. She maintains eye contact. She exudes competence.
And Wanderlust, though on the surface concerned with Eaves’s love of travel—a celebration of years spent indulging that love, moving from one town, one country to the next with little notice, living abroad for months and years at a time, cut off, in the days before e-mail, from family and friends—is also about the process by which she became the adult she is now. She doesn’t have regrets, though she would tell her twenty-year-old self to “spend more time trying to figure out what you want to do on your own. It’s easy to fall back on what somebody else wants to do.”