Guest contributor: Thierry Kauffmann
categories: Cocktail Hour / Guest Columns
Hi, I’m Anxious. I want to thank Bill and Dave’s Comedy Grotto for inviting me to try out for the Comedy hour. But let’s get right to it! I love flying. I do. Getting on the plane can be tricky with Parkinson’s, but once I’m seated, I’m good. Now I’m supposed to make jokes about airplanes and flying and how horrible the food is. Actually the food is pretty good, especially the stuff that doesn’t land on the floor. Have you ever seen the floor of an airplane? Amazing what you find. I was looking for my dessert. Still wrapped in its aluminum foil. I started leaning back at around 4:45pm. At 5pm I was so low I could actually reach the dessert. My neighbor was down too. He had lost his smartphone. So we were both down. He looked panicked. In a cheerful way. He was an actor. Expecting calls. I thought I would help him.
I was on my way to NY. I thought, this man needs help. I could picture his life, but only if I put it inside an activity accelerator. Like those particle accelerators. At my speed, there was no way he would have worried about missing calls. I couldn’t answer the phone in fewer than ten minutes. So there I was, body in plane, mind with Mozart, trying to change course, like in slow motion. I thought if we keep up that speed, we’re going to land. “Is this your phone? I said, I saw it fall.” “Ooh, thank you so much, OMG I had not backed-up my phone since yesterday!” And followed by a torrent of normal speed words that made me wish I could speak at even that speed. But I smiled instead, slowly, then I started talking. These people, he and his friends, all actors, all stressed, in a cheerful way. I felt at home on that plane, me with no dessert yet, he with no-phone turned my-phone-is-back, so I was trying not to say something incredibly profound like it’s good to be back! But I said it anyway, protected by the code of NYC life that seems to say everything goes, everything works–you can be crazy as long as it’s for the benefit of others, and in that moment I felt lighter. The dessert when I found it tasted like happiness , it tasted like love, for this is what love does, it makes you forget the taste of airplane food. You can’t remember the taste of poached pears or that you cannot walk. When we landed I was waiting for the wheelchair from the airline. I asked to wait again–for my pill. Then, forgetting, I got up and walked. People looked at me like “We thought you could not walk.” And I felt like telling them “I was joking. It’s all a joke.”