Monday, July 7, 2014

Letter #10: Greetings From Paramus!

July 7, 2014

Mr. David Sedaris

Little, Brown and Company
237 Park Avenue
New York, NY  10017

Dear Mr. Sedaris:

I thought about you quite a bit when I was away last week.  I went home to New York for a couple of days - to attend my high school reunion and visit with some friends.  Traveling isn't easy.  Quite frankly, I don't know how you do it.

It's not that I don't enjoy being on tour.  I really do.  I think it's loads of fun.  I like to check out old and new places, to spend time with people I care about.  I appreciate when folks miss me - whether it's the ones I briefly leave behind or those I come to see.

I try to stay calm when I open my eyes in the morning and I'm not in my bed.  I just say to myself, "Don't panic.  It's okay.  You're in Paramus."  The mention of New Jersey doesn't necessarily make me think of tranquil things.  If that were the case, I'd probably say "Aloha.  You're in Hawaii."  I have never been to Hawaii, but I bet it's peaceful.  I am generally in Paramus because there are no hotels in the Bronx. And I rather enjoy Bergen County.  For all I know, it could be exactly like Honolulu. Perhaps I don't get out as much as I should.

After a few days though, I start feeling the need to return to HQ.  I miss the team-building and pep talks that originate from the corporate office.  I get homesick easy.  Perhaps that's a good sign.  I hope it means I am comfortable with the choices I make.  I get sad when someone's on vacation and they say, "I wish I didn't have to go back."  I wonder what's so wrong at the house that starting a new life in Budapest or Iceland seems like a good idea.  If you ask me, Budapest sounds really annoying, and I bet it's freezing in Iceland.  Unlike Paramus and Hawaii, some names tell you everything you need to know before you even start filling a suitcase.

When I'm in a hotel, once that door shuts, there's nothing to distract me except the things that can be accomplished in the room.  I unpack and assign places for all of my hats, scarves and pocketbooks.  I try to bring lively outfits for my excellent adventures.  I don't dress like this all the time.  But while I'm away, I like to pretend I'm in Aerosmith.  Costume changes are a crucial part of the entertainment.  Running water and electricity are available, so I wash myself and use the blow dryer several times a day.

I watch the Weather Channel to try and familiarize myself with the exotic climate of the TriState area.  I establish creases in my pants with the iron they keep in the closet.  I set up the sodas in my little fridge.  I secure enough ice from the machine by the elevator for a weekend at sea.  No matter the circumstance, an ice bucket always makes it a party.

I wish I had enough time to get to know the other travelers on my floor, but there's seldom anyone in the hallway to casually bump into and strike up a conversation with.  The cleaning staff is very nice, but they have work to do.  The Courtyard by Marriott is big with business people.  Everybody's probably in their rooms, pressing clothes for meetings and preparing for the inconsistent state of the atmosphere.

I usually listen to music whenever I am alone on long drives.  Sometimes, I talk into a little tape recorder so I can write my thoughts down later, after I've forgotten them.  For this trip to New York, I purchased your most recent offering - Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls  on cd.  I'd never listened to a book this way before.  It was such a wonderful experience.  I enjoyed the sound of your voice as much as the stories.  I felt like I had such great company along for the ride.

Mr. Sedaris, I make a conscious effort to not gush whenever I write to you.  I wish only to come across as a stable individual who appreciates the opportunity to enjoy relationships with lots of folks, and not just you.  I try and make like I'm slick.  But I do love the way you put words together and layer each detail so skillfully.  Your observations make me feel like I'm part of something very clever and intimate.  I only hope my writing reflects this unique ability.

Admittedly, I think I may have hit a snag in my momentum with regard to presenting myself for consideration as high-quality friendship material.  I spent some time wondering whether I actually wanted to meet you or be you.

I've decided that I'm just fine with being me.  But it was a weird thought.


Mary Killian


  1. Witty and wonderful, as usual.

  2. We lived a couple towns over from Paramus for a spell and I remember it as a somewhat exotic locale. Even the name sounds somewhat glamorous (Pah-RAM-us) and what with all the u-turns and their fancy mall, I think of it as a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there because I didn't feel like home. I do not, however, get homesick for my current town and it does feel like home. I do miss the cats. The kids are always with me, so I can't miss them. On second thought, Iceland solo sounds like a fantastic escape, but then I would get homesick. This is all just a long-winded, awkward way of saying I love your posts :)

    1. Long-winded is fun. Thanks for reading, Kristen. :)