Gerald Ford at Rancho Mirage

  The motel was close to Los Angeles Airport and under an inbound flight path. Every thirty seconds a big jet came across, its scream transformed seconds later into the roar of reverse thrust followed by the howl of the next one coming in, ad infinitum it seemed. The room was overheated, its thermostat stuck on seventy-four degrees Fahrenheit, and the windows were fixed shut. There was no bar-fridge or service. It wasn’t late but the diner was closed despite its neon light flashing “open”. I had no ear-plugs and the noise kept me awake, but by 1 a.m., when…

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