The earphones

I have been on airplanes many, many times, but only two or three times have I watched the movie. On a flight from Florida to New York, I was sitting in my seat drawing when they announced that it was time for the movie.

They were going to show George Burns in Oh God. I hadn’t liked the movie when we showed it at the Centre, but I said, “To kill time, let me see it.”

So I paid two dollars for the earphones and turned the switch to channel 9. With my right hand I was holding the earphones to my ear, and with my left hand I was trying to draw. Of course, I couldn’t draw very well with my left hand, since I am right-handed.

The stewardess saw me and said, “Why are you not using the headphones?”

So she showed me how to put the headphones on my head. Then she asked, “Where do you come from? India?”

I said, “Yes.”

She said, “Oh, that’s why!”

I said, “I have been here in the States for 20 years.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her how many times I have been on airplanes. But if you don’t use things, you don’t know the proper way.

— 19 February 1985