Flight was already at the top of our list of books to read. Then we read the New York Times review of it this past Sunday and felt a new urgency to go out and buy it. The review was beautifully written, sincere, and completely lacking the typical elitist jargon one usually finds while reading reviews of books in well-known papers. And so on our flight back to San Francisco we read Flight in one sitting, ignoring our need to go to the lavatory and the old smelly man in front of us reclining his seat into our lap. Sherman Alexie hates flying. And we fully recognized the irony in reading a book written by him called Flight on a six-hour plane ride. Last time we saw Alexie read at Modern Times for his short story collection, The Lone Ranger & Tonto Fistfight in Heaven he told the crowd how he was terrified of planes, and convinced he was going to die on one. He also talked at length about how much he hates backpack wearing people in small places, like planes and buses, and we sort of fell in love with him after that.
We were lucky enough to see Alexie again this past Tuesday, this time Modern Times held the event at the Roxie, which was packed with over 200 people. Alexie won over the crowd with his very first comment, "There's nothing like the funk of 200 liberals packed into a small space." He then went on to tell us that Tom's of Maine deodorant doesn't work, "Cinnamon on shit, still smells like shit." Sadly the person seated next to us proved this statement all too well. But we didn't care how bad it smelled in the Roxie that night, Alexie had us hanging on to every word for an hour and a half. It looked to us like the entire crowd felt the same way, except for the long haired hippy gentleman, who left when Alexie launched into his tirade against people who voted for Nader, which ordered us to vote moderately for president and told us there is no way America is ready for a president named Obama (we hope he's wrong here). Alexie went from politics, to iPods and back to his fear of flying with the unbelievable ease of a master storyteller. And even though we really wanted to hear him read from his book, we could have watched him lecture and perform all night.