Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Vive valeque!

So mom's on a plane back to Singapore. I always had mixed feelings about the airport: it is at once the happiest and saddest place. The grins of glee on the arrival level contrasting with the streams of tears at the departure gate. The irrepressible anticipation as you drive up to pick up a loved one, with your heart thumping and your chest bursting with suspense, and the inevitable dread, with a pit in your knotted stomach, and a leaden weight on your chest, as you drive him/her back.

A places with such acute differential in emotions. The only other places with such vast differences are probably hospitals (births and deaths) and churches / synagogs (weddings and funerals).

Arrival. Departure. Maybe this spectrum marks the fundamental plot and trajectory of our lives.

Enter. Exit.

Change is inevitable, I suppose. The trick is to learn to embrace it. There is no use in pining for something in the past, or has changed. Human beings tend to be static creatures though. We enjoy stability, a regular pattern, something or someone familiar.

Even mom has changed. She has become older, her physical limitations more obvious and pronounced. In my younger days, she accompanied me on bicycling trips in Malaysia, covering 50+ miles in a day, up hills and down valleys. Before she married, she often rode a motorcycle from Singapore to Malaysia and back--alone. These days, she has trouble hiking more than 5 miles. As a result, I have to be more patient, helpful, forgiving, being granted a glimpse into my own future. By learning from those who go before us, we learn to be better, more insightful and compassionate beings. To paraphrase Isaac Newton, we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us. Learn, treasure, embrace change.

Mom has long retired from from teaching brats children in schools. Today, she teaches adults Yoga. Though you will grow older, you never stop learning unless you make it so.

I think it will be a while before she forgets Highway 17, the giant trucks, the off-camber turns, and the scrape marks on the walls (legacies of less skilled or fortunate drivers) though. Vuduvida's description is very (IMHO) apt:

Speaking of dangerous curves in the Bay Area... How about northbound on Highway 17, just past the summit? That decreasing radius turn is cambered just so that it throws you into median when taken at speed. I used to live in San Jose and work in Scotts Valley (just above Santa Cruz) so I made that commute every day. I have never seen a more accident-prone stretch of highway. Any rain and you're pretty much guaranteed to have an accident waiting for you at that turn. A friend I worked with completely smashed in the front of his Integra there and another co-worker (whom I didn't know) died in an accident on that road. The concrete median used to look like it was covered in graffiti but it was just paint from all the cars that had hit it over time.

It's too bad I missed the chance to take her on the even scarier Highway 9 from Santa Cruz to Felton. Karen Reardanz's titillating description:

With more dangerous curves than a Victoria's Secret catalog, the six-mile stretch of Highway 9 from Santa Cruz to Felton possesses all the scare tactics of the Giant Dipper with none of the innocent thrills. And those speed demons who insist on taking those turns at hyperspeed? There's a reason the signs read 35 miles an hour.

And there's always Highway 84 and Old La Honda, from Woodside to Highway 1...

Next time. Next time, eh?

Godspeed, mom.


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