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  • We were stationed on a slushy Salt Lake City tarmac, and I was looking out the window, tearing up and crying (the window, not me).

    The Delta flight attendant looked like she had been a Delta flight attendant since the days before that’s what they called them. With her old, tired face, deep wrinkles, thick makeup, big, stiff hair, and a doting demeanor that was a weird combination of sweet hospitality and deadening lifelong fatigue, she was not so much a flight attendant, but really much more of a stewardess.

    “Excuse me,” said the old, well-dressed man sitting behind me, flagging down the woman. “Can I just tell you what a fantastic job you are doing? I have been observing you, and you have been doing a really fantastic job.”

    “Well, thank you, sir,” said the woman. “I think you just made my day.”

    “Jim Romney’s my name,” said the man.

    “Well, thank you, Mr. Romney,” said the woman.

    They were two people from another time, talking in a kind of way that people don’t talk any more.

    “What’s your name?” said the man.

    “Debbie Hall,” said the woman.

    “Where you based, Debbie Hall?”

    “I’m based in Boston.”

    “Boston!” shouted the man. “Well, then you must know Mitt Romney. Mitt’s our cousin, and we’re headed out there to see him. To be there for his, you know, thing. Family is priority number one, Debbie. Let me tell you, family is forever.”

    Debbie looked a little stunned, and spoke more softly, so the other passengers wouldn’t be able to hear. “Wow, Mitt Romney. Wow, well, you know, maybe he can get us out of this mess that we’re in. Turn things around, you know?”

    “Well, we certainly hope so,” said Jim. “We certainly hope that he can.”

    The two of them nodded to each other for several pregnant moments, until the silence began to get awkward.

    “We love Boston!” exclaimed Jim, suddenly, smashing the silence.

    “Well, Mr. Romney,” what you said is very kind.

    “Well, I mean it,” said Jim. “I wouldn’t have said it unless it were true. I would never say anything unless it were true. That’s the kind of man I am, Debbie. That’s just the kind of man I am.”
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