(PICTURE: Singapore's Parliament)
The days preceding my trip to Singapore made me reminisce about my teenage years. I felt like my young pre-pubescent self getting all excited for the annual Memorial Day Tournament that Livingston Lighting, my traveling soccer team, used to take. The only big differences between now and then are:
a) I'm not in good physical shape now.
b) I'm playing for a Vietnamese team. Sure the lightning had Matt Shin and Ben Park but they were Korean-Americans.
c) My parents wouldn't be driving me to the tournament...which meant no Peter, Paul and Mary
or John Denver on repeat for 6 hours of traffic.
d) I was going to play ultimate frisbee instead of soccer -- a sport I just started to play about four months ago.
I got to the airport early and met up with a few of my teammates who were on my flight. Ngan, one of the girls on the team looked pretty nervous and I asked her, "Is this your first flight?" She shook her head yes so I told her everything would be okay. I also told her that sometimes people's ears hurt on flights so she should either chew gum or wiggle her jaw. Ngan didn't believe me...probably because I also told her all women on flights are supposed to bark like dogs during take-off. Well, she should have barked like a dog and chewed gum because about five minutes into the flight I looked at Ngan and she had a pained expression on her face. She pointed at her ear and winced out the word, "Hurt."
But that wasn't the highlight of the flight. The highlight of the flight happened about fifteen minutes later: I was reading my book (Billy Bryson's A Brief History of Nearly Everything) when an all too familiar smell hit my nose. It smelled like dog shit. I looked up and guess who was walking down the aisle towards me -- Minh! That's right Minh, my landlord who had thrown me out of my old house just days earlier (and who I basically called a liar to his face when he cheated us out of about $40 on our security deposit giving us a bogus exchange rate).
Minh and I briefly made eye contact and I smiled at him. He immediately darted his eyes towards the ceiling as if a Michelangelo fresco was painted there and kept walking to the lavatory (where I can only assume he was going to clean the bottom of his shoes off). A couple of minutes later he walked back down the aisle and sat down. I saw him casually whisper something to the person next to him. Sure enough that person casually turned around a minute later and it was Binh. I smiled at her too and she too darted her eyes away. It was like I was Medusa.
Despite my LHS and Syracuse educations I'm really really bad at math. But come on! What are the odds that my landlords would be on the same exact flight as me just days after throwing me out of their house (quick recap for new readers: my girlfriend Huyen slept over my house and my landlords evicted me). Whatever the odds are they aren't good. I'm not a very superstitious person but immediately the thought struck me, "this can't be a good sign for the tournament."