Friday, January 3, 2014

How I Saved an Old Lady in the Most Ridiculous Way Possible at the Sea-Tac Airport or My Winter Vacation in Seven Parts

I. Fear of Flying

We don't feel much turbulence, but when we do I feel like we're going to crash. I'm afraid of flying and even though I end up flying at least twice a year I'll never get used to it. Bump, bump, goes the plane and I buy TV time (a new feature on United flights) to get my mind off of my impending annihilation. I watch A Good Day to Die Hard because I can pretend the turbulence is film related. In this movie, John McClane and his son survive everything. They jump out of buildings, get shot at by men with AK 47's, fight a helicopter, a tank (all while crashing into hundreds of cars in a ridiculous chase sequence that, no matter how one likes to fall into movie logic, would have killed a thousand innocent people), all while John McClane, complains, "This is supposed to be my vacation," even though it's not really even his vacation. But this is my vacation. Like John McClane and his son, I too will live.

II. Parent's Anniversary

III. Impatience

There's a meanness to me now that I didn't notice until I arrived in Washington. I have no patience whatsoever. I get annoyed when someone takes too long at the cash register, if they strike up a conversation as I wait to order my coffee. Or if someone slow gets in my way at the Wal-Mart. Like anyone needs to be in a rush at Wal-Mart. I blame the city. But here's when I realize that something is wrong with me: right at the airport. I've just landed. I'm with my parents and we just picked up my baggage. I'm trying to rush to the escalator but it's too late, an older couple gets in front of us, and there's no way now to walk up the escalator like I always am want to do. I'm not even on the escalator yet but I'm annoyed that they're going to be in front of us. I roll my eyes because I foresee having to remain stationary. Then I think: "What the fuck is wrong with me?" Then I think, "Is that old lady falling?" And the old lady falls.

IV. Everything Lost, Returns Eventually

So, so much Korean food. Every day, three meals a day. Every pound I've lost in 2013, I've regained. I'm eating and I can't stop. "When was the last time I had a full meal?" I wonder, as I glut myself. Koreans love food, and I love being Korean and being able to have easy access to that food. My mother is spoiling me and I love that. But, still. I've regained significant weight. Everything returns, eventually.

V. New Years... 

...Is my favorite holiday (Halloween is a close second). In life, there are few real beginnings or endings, so even the illusion of a narrative is comforting. New Years Day always recharges me. I can look back at the past year and compartmentalize it, saying, "Last year was about this." For me, 2013 was about the temporary. Yes, I was a temp for many months. And I'm currently in an adjunct position that is anything but permanent. But, even more than that, I've come to terms with the fact that every single thing in life, jobs, people, homes, even parts of the self, is temporary. In flux. Changing, or dying. 

VI. Smartphones (Dumbphones?)

My sister, bless her heart, buys me a smartphone. The Moto X. When I take it home, I get stupid. I start an Instagram account. A Vine. I tweet pics and post on Facebook and basically kill my phone in under three hours. When I charge it, I lean against the wall and play YouTube videos, even though my tablet is nearer and better at playing YouTube videos. Social Media is dumb, I realize. But it's also fun. So fun. Too fun. I spend the whole day releasing years of pent-up smartphone desire. It's an explosion of social media that startles my friends, and probably has created new enemies, but I haven't had this much fun with a device since I played Final Fantasy VII for the first time, all of those years ago. Is this bad? Is fun bad?

VII. Rescue(d) 

So, the old lady on the escalator can't get her footing and she falls. The old man screams. She screams and falls. Slow motion. Or maybe everything for someone old is slow. I'm not on the escalator yet, I'm still annoyed, but since she's falling so slow I have the chance to grab her. I run up and catch her by the shoulders, cushioning her fall. Or so I hoped. I lose my footing and I fall too, slowly. She's on top of me, not as small as she looked from afar. The thing about escalators is that the steps, as you must know, continue escalating. Because of this, no matter how much we tumble down, we never reach the bottom. In theory, if no one else was there and there were no emergency shutdowns, we could be falling perpetually. My feet get scraped, the old lady is panicking as I hug her to me. I'm not scared, I'm embarrassed. And we keep falling, until my Dad, behind me, grabs hold of me, stopping our descent, and the emergency shutdown commences, and I am saved, all of us, today, will live.

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