The Great Plotnik

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Double Lucky

Here is a secret: It is no worse getting up at 4:30am to get to the airport at 5:30am to catch a 6:30am flight than getting up at 7am to get to the airport at 9:00am to catch a 10:00am flight, Either way you don't sleep the night before, afraid you'll sleep through your alarm. You just lie awake in bed longer. But there is no traffic getting to the airport when you leave early and the airport itself is so much easier to deal with at 5:30 than at 9:00. 

The security line is short and so is the coffee line. The croissants were just delivered. There is room to sit in the waiting area. People are smiling. Your plane is, by definition, on time, since it hasn't had time to be delayed coming in from anywhere else. It's the flight crew's first flight of the day so they're still happy to be alive and employed. The child in back of you is still groggy. You can read the newspaper while the news is only outdated by a few hours.

It helps if you have a wife who traveled on business for many years. She has getting up early down to a science. Shower here. Lunch packed here. Suitcase zipped up here. Carry-on, windbreaker, check! Book, I-Pad, check! Boarding pass, check!

We argue little. She still thinks they care about your toiletries in plastic bags. I still look for bad omens.

But look how I've grown. Our kids are in town so the other afternoon I went to Sun Fat to buy fresh salmon to barbecue. Everyone in Sun Fat is Chinese. I needed a two pound piece so the man cut one off a slab of fresh King. He wrapped it in butcher paper, weighed it, turned to me and said:


A second man said "Uh oh." I looked at him. "In China," he said, "this very bad."

A third man said: "Oh, yes. Bad omen."

"Bad omen?" I said.

"Numba faw mean death."

"Fawty faw death DEATH," said the second man.

"Worse," said the third man. "Fawty faw FAWTY FAW!" 

"You mean death death DEATH DEATH?" I said.

The three men smiled. "You need bag? Ten cent," said the first man.

"Wait a minute," I said. "I am serving this salmon to my kids and grandkids."

"How many?" 

"Four," I said.

"Hold on," the first man said. 

The three men huddled and the first man gave a lengthy opinion in Chinese. Judging from his burning eyes, escalating volume and the way he stared first at man two and then at man three, punctuated by rapid downward motions with his right arm, it looked like he was saying "I already cut this piece off a perfectly good (and expensive, I might add) King Salmon. I am not cutting it again. That old country BULLSHIT does not apply in this case because this is not China and this man is not Chinese. So shut the fuck UP!"

The second and third man were obviously employees of the first man. They all nodded and the second man turned to me.

He said "But you eat too, right? You, you wife, that make six? Six not bad."

"Plus, four plus four make eight. In China eight MOST luckiest numba," said the third man.

"Eight eight," said the second man. "TWICE lucky."

All three nodded. Problem averted. 

"So, you need bag?" said the first man.

A few years ago I would not have purchased that salmon OR fed it to my kids OR gotten on this plane this morning. But Barb and I are on our way to see BZ defend her PhD.  The way I see it: DOUBLE lucky.


This story is meant to be funny. But this afternoon, when we got off the plane, we were stopped by a TV broadcast in an airport bar. There was a real plane crash this afternoon, right on the runway where we had taken off eight hours earlier. Lots of injuries, and a few people are dead. And we had a wonderful time tonight, eating oysters down by the water, on a hot Rhode Island summer night. 

You can't figure this stuff out.


At 5:14 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Double lucky, indeed. All best to Bronnie, or whatever the equivalent of break a leg or merde is for a scientist.

At 7:13 AM, Anonymous jj-aka-pp said...

Great picture!
Great story- as only you can concoct them! :-)
Kudos, merde, break a leg...and any other Chinese saying that may help the situation for BZ!

At 7:32 AM, Blogger mary ann said...

A chilling story of the 4444444. So
glad you are safe, sound and happy!

At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Cousin Seattle said...

I checked out from Trader Joe's today, and my total was $8.88. (TRIPLE lucky!) The teensy part of me that believes in "any of that crap" wanted to go buy a lotto ticket. :) We were flying back from Seattle when the plane crash happened. It was surreal to be watching coverage of it on the TVs at our seats.


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