Friday, May 29, 2009

Love in the Time of Swine Flu - Part 1

They said if I valued my life I wouldn't go; or something like, you've got the rest of your life to go. But I beg to differ: Peru can't wait.
Meanwhile, sitting in the Detroit airport, waiting for my flight to DC, a woman in a yellow blouse drags a red flower repeatedly around her face - possibly a new anti-aging practice I'm not yet familiar with.
It's raining buckets outside. There is another woman, probably in her late-thirties, fake and baked, flower bracelet ankle tattoo. A plunging reverse neckline reveals a tight back. Nice calves too. I want her badly.
I look nice today - freshly showered, gray v-neck sweater, well-fitting blue jeans, and just-the-right-amount-dirtied white Dunlop Volleys. Real sharp. Who wouldn't want to ravage me?

They bought me off with $50, a packed PB&J lunch, and a ride to the airport. I'm flying solo now on this trip to Peru after Emily and Mindy dropped out only hours before takeoff. Going to Peru wasn't even my idea in the first place. Emily succumbed to the swine flu scare - her family pleaded with her not to go to the point of tears. As for Mindy - Ms.'When are we ever going to be able to take a trip like this again?' - she bailed for a job interview, even with another job already in the bag.
And so I'm off without any idea why. I'm always keen to go anywhere in good company. In this case, I didn't know the company super well, but enough to know they weren't all about chasing after Latin women. I was ambivalent toward the destination - could've gone for Brazil or Argentina more. Now I'm out of company and stuck with an arbitrary destination. I can't stand to be alone for one day, let alone 32. Sure, I'll make friends, but are long stretches of time to myself inevitable?
I don't like the fact that I don't speak Spanish either, partly bcause I feel like I should know the language due to its huge influence in the States; and also because I'm nervous about getting hustled.
I don't know the first thing about Peru. The US media and my parents have convinced me swine flu will get me if I go. Come and get me swine flu. I dare you. I double-dog dare you.


What a sad moment it is to discover that a cloud cannot hold your weight.
On the plane, it seems like years ago that I said goodbye to Emily and Mindy and Mindy's marathon-running twin sister, Phoebe. In the sky, the plane violently lurches, feeling as though it might just plunk into the ocean below. I look to my seatmate, a large unattractive black girl. She is not someone with whom I wish to spend my final moments.
One would think that the more times you fly, the more comfortable you get. With me, it just gets worse every time as I think statistically the odds are stacking up against me in favor of a plane crash.
The flight attendants are all wearing face masks. Could it be swine flu?

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