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We had all been reading, the French couple and I, on the three-hour flight back to Boston from Fort Lauderdale. She sat in the window seat with a newspaper, he read from a Kindle, and I fidgeted in the aisle seat, slogging through a slim but dense volume on ancient history. (The problem with being a writer is that you don't read books; you read sentences, and it slows things down considerably.)

As we began our descent, the flight attendant came by and asked the gentleman to turn off his Kindle. When he didn't hear her, she leaned over and gently but firmly told him to power down.

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