About how I met Etgar Keret

This text was originally published in Polish at my wine blog LampkaWina.com

I think most of us know Etgar Keret. Google says that he is: “an Israeli poet of Polish origin… best known for his stories. He is often considered a master of the short form.(…) His works are translated into many languages”. I really enjoy his short stories and I even played a small role in one of them.

Keret’s writing is concise and I really like it. He is able to tell an interesting story on two or three pages. Actually, he opens the stories and then the sentences start to breathe like wine in an opened bottle, gaining depth. We watch his characters through an open window, and when we stop watching them — they continue their lives, they do not fall asleep.

Etgar Keret “The Seven Good Years”

The story, in which I had an opportunity to meet the author is entitled “Flight Meditations” and it is a part of his last book “The Seven Good Years”. The author meditates in the air — he describes his time on board of airplanes during his book promotion travels. Time is thinning in the clouds. It is not wasted by browsing airline shopping catalogues again and again. It is not wasted by watching silly movies. It is not wasted by small talks with other passengers when queueing to the toilet at the back of the airplane.

I stood in such a queue, when I heard someone behind me asking:
Cool socks, are they from the catalogue?
I really had cool socks (decorated with a reproduction of “The Scream” by Edvard Munch) and I bought them in a designer boutique in San Francisco. I turned around just to see the biggest surprise of this flight — Etgar Keret!
— Thanks — I said — No, not from the catalogue. Mr. Keret, right?
Right— he said, shaking my hand — You can call me Etgar.
We talked for a while and when it was my turn to enter the toilet, I gave way to Etgar. It seemed that tomato juice did not serve him well. When we were leaving, I said to him that drinking wine is safer (but reading the end of his short story I saw that this advice was ignored).

I returned to my seat. For a while I contemplated recent moments. The captain informed us that we were about to land. Not thinking much, I reached for the airline shopping catalogue and I started flipping through it. Oh … it’s my socks!

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