Suburbia is too close to the country to have anything real to do and too close to the city to admit you have nothing real to do.
My grandmother was a kind of Scarsdale, New York, society woman, best known in her day as the author of the 1959 book 'Growing Your Own Way: An Informal Guide for Teen-Agers' - this despite being a person whose parenting style made Joan Crawford's wire hangers look like pool noodles.
Air travel is the safest form of travel aside from walking; even then, the chances of being hit by a public bus at 30,000 feet are remarkably slim. I also have no problem with confined spaces. Or heights. What I am afraid of is speed.
The reason that war is such a fascinating subject for writers is because it's a revealer. Put a bunch of people in an adrenaline-fuelled, life-or-death situation and their fundamental behaviours are exposed, the scrim is taken away and the motivations behind each personality come out to play.
For the average person, taken to their sick bed, it takes a serious bout of pneumonia or a full body cast to completely forget the life they had prior to falling off the rollercoaster. I, however, will do this over a paper cut on my thumb, obsessing of said cut and being generally consumed by it.
Brits and Americans have hundreds of different phrases for the same thing. Luckily, it's usually a source of amusement rather than frustration. A flashlight by any other name is still a torch. My personal favourite is 'fairy lights,' which we boringly refer to as 'Christmas lights.'
It's funny. People often compare me to other humor essayists. They're usually quite nice comparisons; I will accept those gladly. But I am always sort of appalled at the idea of being lumped with other, more chick-y female writers. And the truth is probably that neither comparison is accurate.
Cats and their owners are on a private, exclusive loop of affection. Thus cats have become symbolic of a community eschewed and a hyper-engagement with oneself. They represent the profound danger of growing so independent in New York that it's not merely that you don't need anyone - it's that you don't know how to need anyone.
Some of the writers I admire who seem very, very funny and very emotional to me can develop a closeness with the reader without giving too much of themselves away. Lorrie Moore comes to mind, as does David Sedaris. When they write, the reader thinks that they're being trusted as a friend.
Like most citizens of popular and international urban centres, I don't take advantage of the cultural opportunities. Perhaps this comes from growing up in suburbia. Home is where you eat, sleep, read, watch television and ignore your parents. It is not where you go to the ballet and then attend a heated panel discussion about it afterwards.