Unforgettable-- Christmas 2009(之一)

2개월 전

(From Teacher Mark)

When I realized that the insects - along with the reggae music - would only get louder as the night progressed, I decided to turn in while I still had a chance of sleep. I've never heard bugs that loud in my life. I don't even know what kind of bugs they were...some sort of mutant cicadas maybe? I scanned the pillow and the sheets and neither seemed to have any lice on them which I found comforting. There were no blankets in the room so I pulled out my $7 Westjet blanket which barely covered the bottom half of my legs then flicked off the nightlight. I was dead tired having barely slept the night before in the airport lounge. The Ottawa airport apparently doesn't take my needs into consideration when they carry out their nightly routine. After midnight, flocks of immigrants riding on loud machines come out of nowhere. I must have picked the dirtiest corner of the airport to sleep in because the machines went back and forth around my couch all night. I couldn't figure out if clean floors were the airport's highest priority or the employment of Ottawa's entire Filipino population. I guess both are reasonable priorities to have. Needless to say, I was thankful for a couch long enough to accommodate my upper body - even though my legs hung awkwardly off the side. I didn't have a watch with me and I was too lazy to dig out the cell phone from my carryon, so I monitored the time by the volume of people coming into the airport. I finally hauled myself off the couch and went to see if check in was open. I was surprised to find long lines and frustrated customer service agents so early in the morning. There were about a million people in line for the Toronto flight which was scheduled to leave in like twenty minutes - none of them looked very amused. I found the line for Montego Bay and took my place behind a Jamaican family carrying about twenty bags. Our line wasn't moving because all the CSA's felt the need to bend over backwards for the Toronto-bound passengers. I decided to strike up a conversation with a heavier set Caucasian woman who was going to meet her husband in St. Anne's Bay. We made small talk for a little while until I succumbed to a deep depression from standing in a stagnant line. I just stood there staring at the family in front of me. There were six of them in total. A man who I'm assuming was the father, two young boys darting back and forth underneath those orange divider tape things, the mother, a girl who was about fifteen, and then there was this other guy who had gold rings on every finger and a few massive gold chains hanging off his neck. I presume he was their personal drug dealer but I'm not sure. The lines finally started moving after Toronto got its act together but then when the Jamaican family got to the desk, everything came to a standstill once again. I could see the CSA had the same concerns as I did when she started counting the bags. "You're allowed two pieces of check-in luggage and one carryon per person", she told them in a frustrated voice. The father muttered something in Broken English to his drug dealer and then looked at me with my tiny carryon. The CSA immediately saw his plan and said, "Sir, you're not allowed to ask strangers to carry your bags for you". She pushed them off to the side and told them to try and consolidate their luggage. After clearing check in, I moved briskly through the terminal
because our flight was suppose to leave ten minutes ago. Despite the rush, I knew I couldn't board the flight in good conscience unless my caffeine levels were properly attended to. Second Cup typically doesn't provide the price/quality ratio that I would consider fair, but in this scenario, Gate 14 was about twenty yards away. Boarding hadn't even started yet so I found a comfy seat in the lounge, began sipping my coffee, and tried to visualize Christmas day in the land of reggae music and bobsledding.

I was suddenly awoken by a loud banging on the door. I thought I was dreaming at first but then it came again. I lay motionless. After a few seconds of silence it came again and I decided to confront the situation. "Hello?... who's there?" I said trying to shake the startlement from my voice. "It's me mon", came the voice. I could tell it was the person who had given me the key to the room. I think he was the hotel manager but it was hard to tell because there had been about ten of them drinking beer and smoking weed beside the hotel when I got there. "What do you want man? I'm trying to sleep". "I jus need to get somtin from da room". What on earth would he need to get from my room in the middle of the night? "Come back in the morning, I'm in bed". It sounded like he was talking quietly to other people outside the door. My heart was pounding. I figured he was either there to knife me or bring me the beautiful Jamaican girls he had promised me. Earlier that day, when he was showing me the room, he told me he was going to bring me some beautiful Jamaican girls to keep me company in the night and make me feel welcome in Jamaica. I told him that I would be fine here alone. "Hey mon, open da door!" Opening the door wasn't on my agenda. Whether he had knives or girls was inconsequential. One would kill me tonight, the other would kill me in ten years. I was wishing I had purchased that machete at the Bass Pro Shop last week. An 18 inch carbon steal blade would offer me incredible comfort in moments like this. I grabbed my passport, wallet, and running shoes. At this altitude I figured I could sprint 150 meters then settle into a 30 kilometer run at a pace of 11 kph. As long as none of them were Usain Bolt, I was sure I'd be fine. The only weapon I could find in the room was a cast iron pot with a long wooden handle. I crept up to the door and listened. I didn't hear any voices. I put my ear to the door and tried to calm my breathing. All I heard was screeching insects. It reminded me of a time in Pakistan when my brother and I couldn't sleep because of a cricket that was outside our window. We searched for it the next day to give it a cruel and painful death but I don't think we ever found it. The warm night air also reminded me of Pakistan and it felt good on my lungs especially after a harsh month of Alberta winter. I stood there in silence for a few minutes then broke a slight smile when I realized how ridiculous I must look. Here I am in my shorts and running shoes with a pot in my hand standing by the door waiting to club a group of Jamaicans if they break down my door. I decided that going back to bed would probably be the most reasonable option. The little blue light on the TV had been casting an eerie glow across the room and when I crawled back into bed it started to flicker. It's funny how when a person is on edge, small things like flickering lights become scary. I tried to put all the horror movies I'd seen out of my mind and focus on the task at hand - getting some shut eye.

附:词汇表
1)bent over backwards (for):竭尽全力
2)strike up a conversation:开始谈话;建立友谊
3)whip out:突然拿出
4)get its act together:organize yourself and start behaving in a proper way 有条理安排事物
5)get through to:使理解,打通电话
6)whisk away:快速移走,拂去
7)be stuck with:遇到困难无法进行下去,无法摆脱
8)but then:不过,然而,但另一方面
9)get a hold of:得到联系
10)come to terms with:妥协,达成协议,让步
11)bring back:使回想起,恢复
12)mitigate:使缓和,使减轻

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