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THE THOUGHT ORPHANAGE!
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Angry Rant v. 113

Why are people so insistent on being proud of where they are from?

You’re not “representing your city.” You’re just a person who happens to be from there. Unless you’ve done a tremendous amount of work improving the lives of all the people in your hometown than you are really more a product of your environment than a representative of it. What if a city doesn’t want to be represented by you? What if other people don’t want to be identified as part of your stated identity?

And what are you really saying anyway? My city is the best and I am a representative of my city and therefore I am the best? What are you even talking about? Why do we let people talk like this? Why don’t we roll up newspapers and smash people across the face for this kind of nonsense? 

Why?

Stop thinking of new cloaked ways of telling people how much you love yourself and maybe just do something useful once in a while.

Or just go “rep your hometown,” you stupid idiot. You’re waving a flag that would burn itself if it found itself in your hands.

I am full of rage.

The Things You Can’t Do

The day I decided to stop drinking I remember thinking: 

"I can’t do this."

It’s been a little over two months since then. I have my moments of weakness where I just want to say “screw it all” and just go back to how things used to be. 

But then I remember that I wasn’t particularly happy back then. I’m not even saying I’m much happier now, but I know a return to drinking wouldn’t be a return to some greater life for me. It would just be a return to what was easy.

Things aren’t perfect, but they’re better. I sleep better. I look forward to more. 

I really enjoyed the hell out of drinking. I really did. It was great. And there’s nothing wrong with drinking. There was just something wrong with ‘me and drinking’ together. 

So, what have I learned from this so far?

Well, I’ve learned that for me quitting drinking wasn’t about quitting drinking. It was about facing my biggest fear. It was about saying no to myself. None of this is about drinking for me. It’s about doing what’s hardest and about doing what feels impossible. 

Here’s my advice, for what it’s worth. Do whatever you think you can’t. That feels good. That feels really good. It tastes like the best glass of wine I ever had. 

Whether it’s drinking, or commitment, or talking to your estranged family, or learning how to parallel park, I just recommend doing the thing that is hardest because as soon as you do everything else becomes easier. 

I’m not really sure if I’ll last, but I’d rather fail at something difficult than be really great at the things that don’t really matter.

Thank You, Robin Williams

There’s an irrefutable sadness in the air today and we’re all feeling it.

I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know the name “Robin Williams.” I’m sure that’s true for many of you as well.

I’ve known that name longer than I’ve known most people. He was with me as a child, speaking to me through speakers in a darkened room. He was with me as a teenager, helping me laugh with my parents for two hours at a time. He was there with me as an adult, inspiring me to try to be better, to be funnier, to work harder. I’m sure that’s true for many of you as well.

He never left me. He was always there. He was the genie in the bottle who wanted to give the lost kid a shot at love. He was the dad who loved his kids so much that he was willing to do anything. He was the teacher who wanted a better life for everyone. He was the doctor who know that laughter was the best medicine. He was the funny man who made other people want to be funny. 

And now he’s gone, and it’s terrible and it’s sad and it’s unfathomable.

But he left behind a tremendous gift: millions and millions and millions of people who feel like me: we feel loved. I feel loved by a man I barely knew. And that love will live on when I show my kids the movies of a man who really gave a shit about making people happy. 

And they will stare at the screen in a darkened room and they will laugh the way that I laughed and I will sit behind them and I will smile and I will cry and I will be glad that there will never be a time when they don’t know the name “Robin Williams.”

Thank you, Mr. Williams. You made me smile and you made me laugh more times than I can remember. I can never pay you back but I’ll never forget how you made me feel. 

I’m sure that’s true for many of you as well.

How To Beat Your Neighbors

You can pick your friends. You can pick your job. You can pick your religion.  But you can’t really pick your neighbors. 

Neighbors are a terrible thing from hell. 

This is a really negative way to think. You shouldn’t think of your neighbors as enemies or as bad people. You should think of them as what they really are:

ANIMALS.

And when an animal gets out of hand you don’t call the police. You just outsmart them.

My neighbor Gary is a real piece of shit. His favorite thing to do on Saturday mornings is to open his garage door at 7am, play some weird country music, and spend 2 hours dragging all of his used garbage out onto his lawn for an impromptu yard sale. Old sweatshirts, crappy vinyl records that nobody wants, and toys his three dumb-looking kids got tired of playing with.

Sure, everyone has a yard sale now and again. But every Saturday? Not cool, Gary. He rarely seems to sell anything, anyway. I think he’s just bored. But it’s tremendously annoying. People drive slowly on our street and he talks loudly with them on his lawn. It’s really unbearable.

I’ve asked Gary on 4 separate occasions to limit his yard sales to once a month. I’ve even offered to help him set up a table and put out signs. He told me he would consider it, but he hasn’t stopped. Last Saturday he told me to “put a sock in it.” 

Okay, Gary. I’ll put a sock in it.

On Tuesday I knocked on Gary’s door and told him I was sorry I had bothered him about the yard sales but in doing so I had noticed he was parking his car on the street instead of in his garage. I told Gary that I was buying a second car and I wanted a place to store it and asked if he would be willing to rent me his garage. I offered him $250 a month and I even offered to pay 6 months up front if he agreed to let me keep it for a year. He asked for $300 and we settled at $275. 

I had never seen Gary happier. Not only had I “put a sock in it” but I was even now paying him to rent his garage. What a loser I am!

This morning at 7am Gary started collecting all of his house garbage on the lawn to sell to passerby. Another yard sale? Oh, joy! 


Well, today, Gary had a very special customer: Me.

I asked Gary how much money he thought he would get if he sold all of the things he had out. He told me everything was worth about $75.

I offered him $100 for everything. It’s Gary’s lucky day! He gladly accepted my offer and asked me if I wanted help getting everything into my house.

What a kind offer. He helped me put everything in paper bags and then asked me if I needed help carrying them. It was like 20 bags! I politely declined and pulled his garage door clicker out of my pocket. I opened his garage door and, bag by bag, put all the things that used to clutter his garage back into his garage.

"Where are you going to put your car?" asked Gary.

"Oh, I decided not to get another car," I said. "I’m just going to use this place to store all the crap I don’t want. Have a nice day, Gary."

I closed the garage door and walked back to my house. 

Right now, Gary is probably still on his lawn, without anything to sell, and a garage full of trash. He won’t be alone for long though. I’m doing laundry now, so later today I’m going to go back over to my rented garage to “put a sock in it.”

Looking forward to next week, Gary.

Practice Smile

John was sitting at the bar practicing his smile. Everyone always told John that he would look more approachable and meet more women if he smiled more often and so that’s what he was doing: practicing his smile.
Obviously he wasn’t trying these practice smiles on women he was actually interested in. That would be far too risky. He flashed a smile to the man with the very high pants and the man with the very high pants looked behind him to see who John was smiling at.

No. John was smiling at him.

The man with the very high pants walked over to John and said “Were you smiling at me?”
“Yes,” said John. “But it was just a practice smile.”
“A practice smile?”
“I’m trying to look friendly.”
“So, you’re not friendly?” asked the man with the very high pants.
“I have a girlfriend,” said John, lying.
“What are you talking about?”
“My friend said that if I found myself talking to someone I didn’t want I should casually mention I have a girlfriend.”
“So, is that your way of telling me you don’t want to talk to me?” asked the man with the very high pants.
“Yes. Like I said, it was just a practice smile.”

The man with the very high pants shook his head and walked away. John watched him and looked disgusted. Who wears pants like that? What a creep.

Later that night John decided to try his smile on the woman with the underbite. He didn’t see her underbite as a problem. He saw it as kind of weirdly exotic, like dating a woman with an accent. The only thing he was worried about was if he smiled at her with his normal teeth she might feel he was showing off the fact that he wasn’t deformed like her. But he decided to give it a shot anyway.

He slowly walked over to her, past the man with the very high pants who was still at the bar looking disgusting with his indiscernible waistline and exposed ankles. John jutted his lower jaw out a little bit as he prepared his smile trying to make his mouth look slightly less perfect and more like hers.

“Hello,” said John. “My name is John.”
“I’m Mindy,” said the woman with the underbite.
‘I hope you don’t find my smile intimidating.”
“What?” laughed the woman with the underbite, her dummy-like jaw flapping open and shut.
“I just don’t want you to feel like my smile is better than yours even though it is, objectively. I just want you to feel good about yourself because I’ve been told that is a good way to get started with women.”

The woman with the underbite instinctively closed her mouth. She threw her drink into John’s face and walked away.

That was the night that John realized that he had gotten really good at smiling. His smile was pretty intimidating, objectively.

The man with the very high pants was laughing very hard. The quick contractions of his stomach slightly loosened his belt and his pants slowly lowered to the appropriate place on his body. He immediately was less revolting and John knew he had done a great job tonight. He was happy to have helped.

No one approached John for the rest of the night. His smile was just that good.

New Friends

Someone recently asked me “Why don’t you try harder to see the good in people?”

I replied “Because that’s not my job as a person.”

Why is it my responsibility to search for the value of other people in my life? Why is it yours? Well, quite frankly, it isn’t.

I have surrounded myself with people I love, people I respect, and people I admire for various reasons. For that reason I have a very nice life. If someone new wants to become a part of that life, the burden of proof is on them. If they want to take part in my existence, they are going to have to prove to me that they are in some way enjoyable, interesting, admirable, or in some way add value to the group of people I have already chosen for my life.

Why don’t I try harder to see the good in people? Because it’s an unbelievable waste of time. I should be spending my time enjoying the good people I have already discovered rather than sifting through countless strangers and digging deep trying to find their value.

This goes both ways, of course. If I meet someone and want to become a part of their life, it is my job to show them why they should spend time and energy including me in their world.

And if you don’t like this approach, I can guarantee you that you will add no value to my life. So, we’re all done here.

My Last Break Up

Darling,

The thing I miss most is the comfort of being with you. I thought about you all day, every day. You were the first thing I would see when I would come home from work and you were always waiting for me to come home and spend time with you. We had dinner together and we would just sit in silence, enjoying each other, being together. And every night when we would crawl into bed I knew that everything was going to be okay. In the mornings, your scent reminded me of the night we spent and I would face the day with lingering thoughts of and from you still heavy on my mind.

But a month ago you left me.

I was alone and cold and couldn’t imagine going a day without you. You were my other half. You completed me. You made me the best version of myself. I was funny and interesting and handsome and alarmingly charming. And without you, who was I? I didn’t even know myself any more.

Nights were long and mornings were cold and quiet.

But the longer you stayed away, the less I missed you. The more I realized that you didn’t really make me the man I was. Actually, you took away small pieces of the person I wanted to be. Also, you always gave me a fucking headache. And you were expensive. You really were a nightmare, weren’t you?

Why didn’t I see it? Why was I so blind? You’re a nightmare and I loved you? What does that say about me.

Don’t call. Don’t write. Don’t text with stupid emoji and long meaningless ellipses.

I was wrong about you.

We should never have been together. I wish I could say I have no regrets in the way that stupid people do. I wish I could say “I’m the man I am now because of you” but that’s silly. I could have been way better than the man I am now.

Long story short, you’re a nightmare.

I hope all is well with you, but actually, I don’t really care.

Love
Elan

Tail Lights

As soon as you realize you’re dead, it’s probably too late to care.

I looked up from the back seat of the car just in time to realize there was no way we weren’t going to crash. I felt the tires underneath my feet desperately try to cling to the elusive ground below them.

I’m almost out of fingers, I thought, from the times I’ve tried to grasp fleeing moments, only to have them snap back at me and make me regret having tried. That last kiss before the packed car pulls away. The wave as it turns the corner, forever leaving the street you lived on together. The look back as you walk down the street you live on alone. The texts you read aloud to yourself ten times before hitting send.

The red lights, unwavering and unapologetic, were just getting bigger and bigger, closer and closer. I could feel my body tense up. Hello, tail lights.

Replaying happy moments over and over again and convincing yourself that those were the ones that mattered. Giving up only to be given hope again. Finally forgetting only to be reminded.

What will this sound like? What does it sound like in the movies? Am I screaming?

Light reflecting off her skin, moving slower than the air. Dust particles frozen in space as time stands still.

The tires aren’t moving anymore but the road underneath us is. Time is still moving at the same speed for everyone around us. A second is a second like the other 59 in this minute. I’m at full pause.

A year can take a decade. By the time it’s over you look back on the hundred years you spent with her that night and the thousand years you’ve spent thinking about those hundred years since then.

We’re about to collide. We are so close I can hear the metal folding before I can feel it. If I can feel this before it happens how will I know when it does?

She’s facing the other way and her posture tells me everything I need to know. She never needs to turn around.

The seat belt tightens around me and holds me in place. Everything is loud.

I’m still where I am but the car has rounded the corner and no amount of stretching can bring my fingers closer. Goodbye tail lights.

The car is stopped. Forever.

I get out. Ten seconds have passed since I first looked up but it’s been several lifetimes. I consumed the time. I ate it and I savored it and I turned it into something else. But all the other cars keep going by, adding 50 seconds to my ten and feeling very much like the last minute was exactly a minute long.

Nothing lasts forever, except for the end.

The end of everything is the only thing that lasts forever.

Why I Quit Drinking

I love drinking.

I love the way alcohol tastes and how it feels and how it makes me not feel. Or over-feel.

I love the way it makes people more tolerable or less tolerable and I love how it makes me less tolerable to other people. You find out who your friends are really quickly when you’re drunk. And you find out who you’re attracted to almost instantaneously. You don’t waste a whole lot of time thinking about what things mean in the morning because right now it is night and night is all there is and all there ever will be.

And then after a while it extends into the day. And then the morning. I’ve been drinking almost every single day for about 10 years. When I moved to college, I kept a handle of gin in my desk drawer. When I moved to my first apartment I made sure a dive bar I could afford was within walking distance. I became a whiskey connoisseur and had to try every single malt, every blend, every rye. I joined wine clubs. First one. Now twenty.

About two months ago I met a doctor and he told me that I was marching towards death. Worse, actually. He told me that if I didn’t make some serious changes my liver was going to fail and what I would experience would make me pray for death.

That night I drank an entire bottle of tequila. Because fuck that guy.

And then the craziest thing happened. After more than ten years of relentlessly shoveling alcohol down my throat, my body decided to react. One night, after doing 12 shots of mezcal by myself in an abandoned hut on a remote island, I woke up and my skin was turning yellow.

So I stopped drinking.

And let me tell you something about not drinking. It’s terrible.

The first thing you ask yourself is, if this is what it takes to survive, I mean, do I really want to live? Is this really worth doing? You have to feel everything and you have to listen to people and you have to act rationally and you actually have to be attracted to the people you sleep with. But you no longer have the confidence to walk up to the people you’re attracted to that you’d want to sleep with.

Not drinking is easy, actually. All you have to do is not put alcohol in your mouth. It’s actually not hard. Most people are doing that at this very second.

The hard part is not quitting drinking. It’s learning to do other things sober.

I’ve never not had a drink on a plane. Or with dinner. Or before bed. Or at work.

It’s terrible. It’s a terrible terrible way to live. Your memory comes back. Do you have any idea how awful that is? Suddenly you wake up every morning and you remember every detail from the night before. You wake up every morning and you feel okay! I’m not kidding. This is something I don’t know how to do.

And then you tell some people that you’re quitting drinking and they start telling you how proud they are of you. And they mean well, but it’s so infantalizing. People are congratulating you for not making stupid decisions because for the past ten years they’ve just accepted that you’re the kind of person who makes bad decisions. I’ve finally worked my way up to neutral and I’m being told that people are “impressed” by my newfound ability to do what most people already do. No, thank you. Not for me.

Everything about quitting drinking is bad. And almost everything about drinking is great.

I love drinking.

But I’m not going to do it anymore.

At least not for a while. I’m not quite done living yet, but I’m also not done making mistakes either.

Give a Goat Contest!

Hello Readers!

I’ve been thinking about goats today and about how much they can help others in impoverished nations so we’re going to do a quick little thing together (if you want) and do something nice this evening.

Send my assistant an email at elansexgirlfriend2011@gmail.com and tell me your favorite goat story, your favorite goat memory, your favorite goat use, or your favorite goat song.

I will pick my three favorite goat entries and I will donate a goat to Oxfam America in each of those names.

Write an email, send a goat.

Write an email, send a goat.

Write an email, send a goat.

What a weird way to spend your evening.

Love, Elan

All Hail Insecurity

Almost all the greatest people I meet are insecure.  I can never believe it. 

With all their charm, their wit, their humor, their charisma, somehow they’re still insecure. 

When I ask them what their biggest flaw is they often reluctantly admit that they are insecure. 

Almost all the worst people I know are very secure. They’re sure of themselves. They’re confident that they can achieve it all. That the world is just a series of obstacles set into motion with the sole purpose of being overcome by them. They’re bold and they’re brash and they’re almost always really terrible. 

The insecure person considers his or her place in the world. The insecure person considers the people around them and realizes they may not be the best and that they may not be the strongest or the fastest or the most beautiful. They take these things into account and sometimes it feels good an sometimes it feels bad but they always take into account the world they live in and they modify their thoughts and actions based on external data, and not just how they “feel” about themselves.

And yet we call this a flaw. Insecurity. A flaw? I think not.

Insecurity is the best thing a person can possess. It is the thing that can make you relate to your other imperfect humans, make you strive to be better, and make you understand when others are flawed like you. And love them for it. And love yourself for being a person and not an idea.

Next time when someone asks you what you like most about yourself you should tell them that you’re insecure. 

And if they don’t get it, they’re probably really secure.

And you should get the hell away from them. 

High School Baseball Coach Loses His Shit, Curses Out Team [UPDATE]

johndarnielle:

I hesitate to share this, for several reasons - first, my Tumblr’s largely about sharing stuff that slays and is awesome; second, the content is potentially triggering, I shouldn’t have hit “play” on it but I did; third, I’m not sure that the people I want to address most will hear me.

Still, let me briefly summarize my experience with sports as a kid. My dad was a musician and and English teacher who didn’t follow sports. My stepfather was a White Sox fan and an Indiana native; sports were a big deal for him growing up in South Bend. It was my stepfather who signed me up for little league when I was ten, and it was my stepfather who spent time in the back yard with me teaching me how to choke up on the bat and throw overhand; and then, during the regular season, three years in a row, it was my stepfather who, some of you will see this coming, launched into day-long tirades much like the one you’ll hear at the link, eventually hitting me and, if she got in the way, my mom. Did I take a called third strike? That was the end of good times in the house for the better part of a week. Did my throw to Jeff Scruggs miss his mitt by a good six feet? I was lucky; I had good coaches, they always told us we’d done our best and tried to help us improve. But at home it was a different story.

It sucked. It ruined sports for me for years. A lot of people who have experiences like mine go on to conclude that sports are for assholes, but that’s not true. Sports are awesome and assholes are everywhere; there are no asshole-free areas of endeavor. Be that as it may, though, DON’T FUCK UP SPORTS FOR KIDS, YOU EGOMANIAC, SAD-LIFE-LIVING, TRANSPARENT-COMPENSATION-MECHANISM GROWN-UP ASSHOLES. If you want to scream obscenities at a room full of people, try picking on someone your own size.

Of course, many of us know from experience know that you won’t, that that’s the point: that you can’t. But that’s your burden to bear. Don’t coach kids if you can’t control your temper. Nobody cares about your commitment to winning.

There are more important things at stake.

Facebook

Yesterday I signed into Facebook for the first time in a very long time and it took me no time at all to remember why I hated how people interact on that platform.

At the top of the page, the little prompt said “What’s on your mind?”

So I wrote what was on my mind and then I waited. 

And then all these people, all these friends, acquaintances, and so forth, who had CHOSEN to be a part of a network where they get to see what is on other people’s minds and CHOSEN to have me be one of the people whose minds they could see what was on began responding.

And it was unreal. Some people just wrote pithy little jokes, other people were somehow offended and wanted to teach me a lesson. Other people who were equally offended but didn’t want to incur my wrath just passive-aggressively “liked” the comment by the most outspoken offended person. 

No one actually gave a shit what was on my mind. They were interested in other people knowing what was on their mind ABOUT what was on my mind. 

Imagine sitting in a cafe and having a friend ask you how you’re feeling and then suddenly every single person within a mile tells you how they feel about how you feel. That’s what Facebook is like. What a nightmare. 

And here’s the sad thing. It’s not Facebook’s fault. They just gave us the platform. It’s our fault. 

We’re dreadful, self-loving, immature little animals and I’m pretty damn sick of it. 

What’s on my mind?

None of your damn business

I Like Your Skin

A few weeks ago, I took a trip to San Francisco to visit some friends. On the first night of the trip, we decided to have a late night dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Nopa.

We didn’t have a reservation and it was super crowded, so I punched my way through the crowd by the door until I got up to the hostess. She had frizzy red hair and remarkably fair skin. I had never seen her there before and since the world revolves around me, I decided that she must be new.

"Hi. You must be new."

"Nope."

"Cool," I said. "So there’s four of us. Can we get a table upstairs?"

"It’s going to be about an hour and a half. You can wait at the bar or I can take your number and call you."

I gave her my number and thanked her. 

"I like your hair" she said as I walked away. 

I turned around and said “Thanks. I like your hair too.”

"You don’t have to do that," she said.

"What?"

"I just told you I like your hair. You don’t have to tell me you like my hair. If you like something about me you can tell me but don’t just say things for no reason."

She was right. I didn’t like her hair. As my friends and I waited next door at a dive bar, I kept trying to think of things I liked about this woman. I didn’t really know her. I liked her abruptness. I liked her fire. I liked where she worked. I liked the way she didn’t take a false compliment and the way she didn’t give a shit what I thought and treated me as she would another person instead of a customer at a restaurant.

When we got back to the restaurant, she wasn’t at the hostess stand anymore. Someone else took us to our table upstairs and I was pretty sure I had lost my chance to make up for my mistake.

But, as luck would have it, moments later, the frizzy redheaded hostess came over to our table with the wine list. 

I’m not sure what came over me, but I just loudly blurted out:

"I like your skin!"

All three of my friends groaned in unison. “We are so sorry about him,” their voices seemed to say.

Without context, I understand their concerns. “I like your skin” sounds a lot like “I would like to wear your skin, stranger!”

I shook my head in despair because what was meant as a genuine compliment (she had great skin!) was now some weird pregnant moment hanging in the air for an eternity. Seeing my friends respond with such resounding negativity must have read to her like “Oh boy here goes Elan again telling strangers he likes their skin.”

She walked away pretty quickly and once she was gone I was able to explain the context of my comment to my friends. They realized that I wasn’t out of line, but it was too late. The weirdness had come and gone and now everyone involved felt terrible.

On the way out of the restaurant, I saw her again. 

"I’m sorry about that," I said.

"You don’t have to say that."

"I was just trying to say that I liked something honestly."

"I know. I like my skin too," she said. "I have good skin. Your skin is dry. You should moisturize." 

Her coworker only caught the very last thing she said and groaned loudly. 

Now, we were even. 

Planes Throwing Debris

As you drive past Princess Julianna International Airport in St. Maarten you immediately realize you’re in the right place. Two beach bars bookend either side of a steep and idyllic white sand beach against pure, clear blue water. People drink Carib beer and order Sex on the Beach and wink at the bartenders as if they’re all the first person to ever order that drink. Bellies stick out over beige shorts and electric blue tank-tops cover brand new two-pieces bought just for this trip.
You hear a rumbling from the sky and a group begins to gather. Professional photographers, 20-somethings with stick-mounted Go-Pros, European tourists in Speedos: no one is immune from the romantic idea of getting your fucking face blown off by a jet engine.

The ocean goes on forever. The sand stretches about 25 feet or so, coming up at a steep angle to the road. The road is two lanes only, 14 feet across at most. Then, there is a barrier, and the barrier just says “No Standing! Danger!” Obviously, everyone gets as close to this barrier as possible. Through the chain link fence and barb-wire you see the famous runway, literally only a stone’s throw away.

I took a boat in from Anguilla, and when the shuttle driver asked me what terminal I was going to, I asked to go to the Sunset Bar. He asked me for a few dollars, which I was happy to give him for this once in a lifetime experience. He told me a JetBlue plane would be landing at around 1:15pm and a KLM 787 would be taking off shortly thereafter. He knew the routine.

We pulled up to the beach at 1:09pm and I saw the Sunset Bar in the distance. People were running wildly towards the ocean. The JetBlue arrival was early. “Get out! Go! Take your picture!” he yelled and I left my bags in the car with him and pulled out my phone and ran through the sand until I hit the spot where the most people were. I figured they knew.

People were yelling and waving, trying to get the attention of the people on the plane, or the pilots, or for no reason at all. It’s hard to tell.

I stood in solidarity with these people. Together, we were going to have an experience. The JetBlue plane was closing in, seeming to just grow in size as it hovered over the blue water.

We all did the exact same thing. We all experienced the moment in the exact same way. Your heart stops for a moment as you realize that even though you came here to have a plane head straight towards you…that right now a plane is heading straight towards you. It’s not a feeling you know.

Most of life is comprised of feelings you know. Mornings feel tired. Working out feels annoying and then great, in that order. Food tastes familiar and nice. Sex feels great, but gets to be more like food over time, familiar and nice. Most things you do for the first time you’ve already done, and most things you do for the first time you will do again. This isn’t like that. There is a plane heading straight towards you.

And in that moment we all lean back, look up, spin around, and watch as, only seconds later, the plane lands safely on the ground.

The jet engines blast us all with sand and debris and we turn our faces away and smile with our eyes closed and listen to the sounds of other people laughing.

It’s kind of nice. We don’t talk to each other, but we all look at each other and our eyes say “How cool was that?”

My shuttle driver was kind enough to wait for me and drive me back to the airport. He giggled as I got in the car and said “Everybody’s gotta do that! I have no idea why!”

As I checked into my flight, the woman behind the counter asked me if I had just come from the beach watching the planes land.

“How did you know?” I asked.

“You’re covered in sand. It’s very dangerous. A lady died.”

I settled into my seat and prepared for take-off. We taxied towards the beach and as we turned I could see the beach through the window. And I saw all the people waving at our plane. I wondered if any of them were the same people that I had been standing with less than an hour prior.

Either way, I looked at them and I thought “What the hell are you people doing? Who are you waving at?”

And then I remembered that they were waving at me. All those people who I was standing with earlier were actually waving at someone, they just didn’t know it. They just had hope. They had hope that there was someone on the other end, someone to tell them that they were alive.

Turns out, there was.