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01 October 2006

Usually when I visit home, I like to take with me on the airplane back a bottle of my mother's tea, which I can never make quite the same way, even with the same ingredients. This is no longer permitted.

While in the security line this evening, I watched the screening agent examine every fluid or gel-filled container, squeeing tubes of Noxzema creme, and so on; he was a thick man with muscular, hairy forearms and a granite demeanor, and obviously felt as ridiculous as he looked.

On the plane the stewardess announced, as has apparently become the custom on American, her own name and that of the pilots, so as to make the experience more familial; but most families are, of course, dysfunctional, and I would rather they maintain the sterile reassurance of anonymity.

The visit home was deeply satisfying, and passed too quickly. Like bark from a birch tree, a little of my stress sloughed off, though only a layer.