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page 217 - man on the plane


owls 8 / 33  
Dec 27, 2009   #1
Page 217 of your 300 page autobiography (one page)

under the seat in front of me, but it didn't quite fit. The man across the aisle coughed into his hand and I glanced over at him and our eyes met for a fleeting, awkward moment. He had a stain down the front of his green polo in the shape of a hammerhead and his jeans were a size too small. That was all I noticed before I glanced away, embarrassed that he had looked me in the eye, catching me in an undeniable act.

I wondered what substance had caused the stain and guessed that it was Diet Coke. I wondered what he had noticed about me in that millisecond of acknowledgement, if he had noticed anything at all. I wondered how long the seat beside me would stay empty and prayed that each person walking down the aisle wouldn't sit there, not because I disliked people, but because I liked people too much. I only wanted to close my eyes and sleep. I wasn't interested in conversation.

The raindrops hit the window in a steady pattern. Someone sat down and I noticed, but refused to acknowledge him or his brown shoes and khaki cuffs visible only in the very corner of my eye. The rain had erupted from the morning's light drizzle to this possible flood outside the window. I didn't like planes much and I liked them less in the rain. I thought about rain and floods and hammerhead sharks and soon, I was fast asleep. I had always been good at sleeping in planes.

"Happy holidays," he said when I woke.

I stared out the window. "Happy holidays. Too bad about the rain."

"I like it. It's rained for almost every big event in my life, you know that? I used to hate it. I'd be standing outside at my high school graduation, reluctantly wearing the cap and gown, and the rain would just be pouring down on all of us. And I'd absolutely hate it. But then it rained the day I graduated from college, the day I graduated from law school. It rained the day that I met my wife and it rained on the day we were married. I'm okay with rain now."

"What's the big event today?" On the day that I was born, I stopped the rain. My grandmother claims that the second I took my first breath of air, the very second, the sun came out from behind the clouds. I was a special baby. I could stop rain. I wanted to tell him that, but I didn't. It didn't seem so special anymore, now that the rain was falling harder outside the tiny window.

The stewardess had stopped the drink cart next to us and was pulling out the airplane peanuts, wrapped in the little blue bags that I could never open without difficulty. He took water and I told her that I didn't want a drink. I never drank on planes, not even water. We both took the peanuts and he opened his without a struggle of any sort. I fumbled with the bag in my hand, running my fingers over the top and not particularly trying to open it. I hardly knew him. I didn't even know his name. And yet, I knew I'd be embarrassed if he noticed that I was having trouble doing something as simple as tearing open a bag of airplane peanuts. He seemed polite enough and it was almost inevitable that should he notice my effort, he would offer to help. It was silly, but I didn't want help with it. Not this time.

He shook a few peanuts onto his hand and put them in his mouth, tilting his head back as though he were swallowing pills. He was a loud chewer. I couldn't hear the baby crying in the seat in

I see myself writing my autobiography as kind of a continuous story and maybe something big will happen on 218 or 219, but 217 is an everyday event. I'm a little worried about that, but I didn't really want to write about an achievement or my job or whatever.
KeyJewel 2 / 7  
Dec 27, 2009   #2
I find it interesting, and I like the way you start and end in a sentence as if it was really a page in a book, but the baby bit seems a little, well, overboard. Sorry, I mean, it's okay, but really. And the first part, the vividness, if you were really writing an autobiography, you wouldn't be able to remember that that vividly. Overall, it's pretty good. A writing career for you wouldn't be that bad.
OP owls 8 / 33  
Dec 27, 2009   #3
i actually wrote the rest of the last paragraph and then just cut it off where the page ended. what about it is overboard? the sentence said something like... "He was a loud chewer. I couldn't hear the baby crying in the seat in front of us or the cough of the man across the aisle. All I could hear was the chomp of the peanuts, the smack of his tongue."

it was meant as exaggeration, but i could change it to "I couldn't hear the soft coos of the baby four seats over or the flip of a magazine..." not sure where that would cut off, but probably around the same place.

and that's true about the vividness. i feel like if i ever did write an autobiography, it would only be based on my life haha. thanks for your comments!
eskape 3 / 5  
Dec 27, 2009   #4
It's beautifully written and a joy to read, I just don't know how much the Penn admissions committee will be able to learn about YOU from this essay (the point of the supplement)
poisonivy 14 / 102  
Dec 27, 2009   #5
I am curious, what do you intend to major in? You have great writing skills, i have loved reading your posts.
The only thing, i agree with eskape. make the reader understand more about you, its your autobiography after all...
also, i love the fact you have not ended the last sentence. so original :)
OP owls 8 / 33  
Dec 27, 2009   #6
I was writing this more to show my creative writing skills than to let them know about me, I guess. I'm really boring. Ahhh! This is why I'm never going to write an autobiography haha. I'll try to write one that shows more of me, but it'll be boring!

And thanks so much! I have NOOOO idea what I want to major in. I've been avoiding those essays. I used to think I wanted to do studio art, but now I'm not so sure.
KeyJewel 2 / 7  
Dec 27, 2009   #7
Not that baby part. The part where it says, "On the day that I was born, I stopped the rain. My grandmother claims that the second I took my first breath of air, the very second, the sun came out from behind the clouds. I was a special baby. I could stop rain. I wanted to tell him that, but I didn't. It didn't seem so special anymore, now that the rain was falling harder outside the tiny window."

It would be good to start off a book (wish I could use it, I'm working on a book)or in the beginning of the book, but to introduce it so near to the end? Not really as good. You should take writing classes in college. I would love to read your books someday.
OP owls 8 / 33  
Dec 27, 2009   #8
oh, that part is actually 100% true. my grandmother tells me that story like, once a week. i'm not sure if the rain actually stopped the second that i was born, but she claims that it is.

okay, i need to read your whole post before i respond. i see what you mean. i'll look at it! and i definitely plan to. actually, i plan to as of... today. i had never really thought about it, but i don't know what i want to do and i write ALL the time, so i decided that i should take writing classes/maybe minor in creative writing. thanks!


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