DianaNyad124 karma2014-01-27 19:08:27 UTC
Years ago I was awarded my own talk show on CNBC. I signed the contract and WOW was I filled with self-importance that day. I walked around NYC and begged any stranger to listen to my story that I had my very own new talk show. I didn't eat much that day, with all the excitement and contract signing. I got out to JFK airport early evening and ran by a health food kiosk and picked up a bag of dried apricots. At the gate, on the plane, I was like the mayor of this flight. I shook everybody's hand, got everyone's name, and told them all that I was going to have my own talk show and they'd have to watch. I offered people dried apricots, they refused, I was hungry, I ate the whole bag. I was in coach in a last minute seat purchase in the middle of the rows with 5 seats. I don't usually tell stories like this, but since you asked...half hour after the flight takes off, large billowing emanations of gas start filling my jeans. The people next to me are wafting their magazines. Everyone in the rows close by me, wants to get up and get away from me. The flight is full, the flight attendants won't allow people to stand int he back. They urge people to get back to their seats. I tried to pretend it was other people. I looked at the man in front of me and raised my hands as if he was doing it. For six hours of that interminable flight from NY to LA, I filled that cabin with dried apricot farts. You have never seen a group of people move so fast to get off an airplane as when that landed. The lesson of this story is, if you get your own talk show don't feel so darn important about it.
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DianaNyad49 karma2014-01-27 18:57:18 UTC
As for the critics, shortly after the swim last labor day there were some legitimate people from the legitimate marathon swimming community who had every right to vet my accomplishment. Any world class record should be researched and questioned. My team and I answered in a three-hour, 33 minute phone call with those people, every question small and large they had. Our navigator, John Bartlett, took them through mile by mile all the winds, all the currents, every inch of that swim from the Cuba shore to the Florida Shore. My head handler, Bonnie Stoll, explained to them how we fed, how we protected ourselves against the deadly box Jellyfish, how our shark team kept me safe. In the end, we proved without a shadow of a doubt that I swam without any assistance whatsoever from shore to shore.
Now, the internet is a big wide world and there are still people, I supposed, out there with their opinions questioning validity of the swim. But trust me, in the circles where it matters, and of course the 44 people on my team who witnessed and were part of this history, know the truth. We had reverence for this record and we did it fair and square.
DianaNyad38 karma2014-01-27 19:35:32 UTC
DianaNyad30 karma2014-01-27 19:10:19 UTC
So many people, friends and strangers, remarked to me after the Oprah interview that they were annoyed at how she handled the aethiest segment of our conversation. but I didn't see it that way at the time. I felt Oprah was thoroughly engaged in an equal-minded, equal-hearted rapport. It's not only Oprah who has the misconception that an aethiest cannot come to tears over the magnificence of this universe. Over the love that we feel and express for each other. So yes, she was a bit surprised or taken aback to hear an aethiest say she's in awe of the planet and the life we get to live, but she loved the fact that I put it that way.
DianaNyad24 karma2014-01-27 19:33:57 UTC
I have seen most of the world at this point and Cuba stands out as one of my favorite places on earth. I'm not the only one who has remarked that this tiny, impoverished island has produced an astounding number of artists, musicians, doctors, athletes and interesting figures. The Cubans are very poor, poorer than ever these days, yet you will never see a homeless person in Havana. They take care of each other. They dance, they smile, and even though I would venture to say most Cubans will speak outright today that they would like change. They would like cooking oil, Tylenol, asthma medicine for their children, and they have faith that those changes are coming. They adore their country and their culture.
I went there first in 1978 on my first attempt to swim across, but I've been back many many times having nothing to do with swimming. I've made many friends and I so look forward to the day when our borders open and we can go there freely and they can come visit us in the States freely too. I was there once for National Public Radio and I needed someone to speak some English for my story. I saw a dapper man on the corner, I asked him if he could speak English and he said "yes, a little bit." Well do me a favor, as a Cuban you probably know the iconic American cars of the 1950's and he said "well, yes of course. I am Cuban. I know the cars!" Okay, do me a favor, take the microphone and as you see them coming down the avenue, give me a description. In his beautiful accent he began: "As you can see, here is coming now, the Ford Fairlane from 1954, you will see the ornamentation in the hood is from the early months of 54, not the late. Now, coming is the Cadillac Seville. This car is the dream of every Cubano. This one, you will see the piping on the interior of the leather bucket seats. This car is a treasure among all the American cars." And this guy with his wonderful accent and captivating personality, described about 12 cars, the detail, the color, everything about them. Being in Havana is to be in a moving car museum. Have a nice day.
It's a story that exemplifies just how delightful Cubans are.
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