Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Long Way Home

“I see lights. That must be San Francisco!” Mom pointed at the window excitedly.

“Ma, it was seven o’clock when we took off, and that was forty minutes ago.” I replied with a finger pointing at my watch. She knew it would be a two-and-half-hour flight.

She looked at me, then the window, then was quiet for a while.

Twenty minutes later, she saw lights again: “That must be San Francisco.”

This is going to be a very long flight, I thought to myself, and it will be the first and last time I am ever going to fly with her.

It was worse than traveling with a kid. At least you could tell the kid to be quiet.

I was a little tired. The day started early, since I woke up at five and couldn’t sleep anymore. There were still a lot to do before we had to leave.

I made five or six garbage runs. Mom’s friends were going to take everything away after we were gone, but I felt bad leaving too much junk, so I wanted to do the best I could to reduce their work.

It didn’t help with mom telling me, as usual, to take a break. I think she said that to make herself feel better, not knowing or caring who was going to finish all the work.

Then I had to cook for her friends who were kind enough to stop by. I cooked the traditional dumplings which, according to mom, was the thing to eat when leaving for a long journey. Thank goodness for frozen food.

It started to snow amid all the actions. I ran to the patio yelling snow, snow!

I was the only one who was so excited. They were probably all sick of the wintry scene.

We had the first unpleasant surprise when we arrived at the airport. The flight was delayed for two hours.

I didn’t buy their reason--weather. I’m from California, okay? We don’t have bad weather there. Find another excuse for your inefficiency.

We did the duty-free shopping. We had coffee. We did the restroom runs. Twice. We had some food. I pushed her wheelchair all over the place. The airline clerk was nowhere to be found, so I decided I didn’t need her. I am my mother’s keeper now.

After we finally sat down in our seats on the plane, but not before we had this near miss roller coaster slide down the tunnel, I heard the flight attendant telling a passenger it was bad weather that caused the long delay.

So much for the great California weather.

Three or four times of proclaiming we were over San Francisco later, mom finally got her wish. We were over the city, only we couldn’t land. There was a thing called air traffic jam and we were in it.

We circled twenty more minutes in the air. Mom complained that the pilot drove too slowly.

To top things off, the traffic on the ground was worse than that in the air. We probably waited half an hour for our ride to drive the two-minute distance from the cell phone area.

It was almost midnight when we reached home. A simple two-hour flight turned into an eleven-hour ordeal.

My little house had never looked nicer, and the licks from my little Yorkie had never felt sweeter before.

(Happy Thanksgiving everyone!)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

House of Five Hundred Doors

I know it’s late, but I have some questions that have been bothering me for quite some time, so I figure now is as good as any to ask you a few simple questions.

What‘s that? It’s one o’clock in the morning? Oh, I’m sure you don’t mind. After all, you and your family don’t go to bed that early. Don’t bother to argue. I hear you every night.

First question: why did you spend so much money to install five hundred doors in your unit? Regardless where you originally came from, you have to admit it’s rather peculiar. Every other step one takes in your unit requires a slam of a door. Every night, all night long. It’s obvious nobody in your unit understands how to “close” a door, but only how to shut the door with a bang.

If you don’t know how to properly close a door, I will have to ask you to remove four hundred ninety-nine of them from your unit immediately. You see, there’s only so much door banging one can endure in certain amount of time, and I’m tired of stabbing the ceilings with the mop handle. I will have to fix the ceilings if I damage them, and I won’t like that.

Second question: is everyone in your unit a sumo wrestler? Not only this causes an unpleasant mental image to one’s mind, the echo of your every step ripples through your floors / our ceilings sounds like a kong sounding from afar. And you guys walk a lot. All night, every night. Add this to the banging of the five hundred doors you installed before you moved in, and you have a symphony of beneath-the-penthouse nightmare.

For your own good I suggest you lose weight immediately. If you fall through the ceilings one day from a heart attack, which won’t be far judging from the sound of your steps and the vibration of the walls, I will have to bill you for the repair. I won’t like that either, especially if you’re in a hospital and I‘m risking not having the expenses recovered--if you get my drift.

One more question: is your child half monkey half horse? He/she is obviously very young, judging from the screaming and the little steps he/she takes when running. It may be a lovely sight for you, the parents, to have an undisciplined wild beast racing in the house, screaming while slamming those five hundred doors, but not for your neighbors downstairs. Trust me on this one.

Oh, anoter thing about the kid--going to bed at ten or eleven o’clock is way too late for a child that young. In fact, going to bed at twelve, one, or two o’clock in the morning is way too late for you, too. How you manage to get up in the morning and go to work is beyond me.

I haven’t had a good night sleep in I don’t know how long. My eyes are scratchy dry and my skin is breaking out. The noise coming from above is stressing me to the point that the mop handle feels too weak of a gesture. I’m also getting more wrinkles from lack of sleep and anger. I really don’t like that.

The fact that you live on the top floor may have given you some superiority complex. Here’s a surprise--you still have to be considerate to your neighbors. Paying a little more doesn’t give you the right to forfeit common courtesy. Even a real penthouse dweller like Donald Trump would agree with me. Besides, it’s only a four-story building. You’re not that higher up.

These nuisances may be commonly accepted where you came from. People may not have the right to complain--about anything. It may be the very reason you left that country and sought a better life here. Why else would you uproot your family, travel thousands of miles to a place where nothing is easy and no one is familiar? I get that.

I just have one thing to say to you and all the horn-honking, traffic-cutting mad drivers in this town: don’t make this country a duplicate of that country. There’s a saying (and I’m sure you’re familiar with it) goes something like this: taking off one’s pants to break wind.

It makes your thousand-mile move totally unnecessary if you insist on behaving the old way. You might as well stay where you were in the first place.

(Other than raining one hundred eighty days a year and the few little things mentioned above, it really is a nice little town to live here. No really.)


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