top notch behavior
Since i left your driveway....
I could barely stand at the airport Check in. My Eyes were the kind of heavy that eyes only get from being on the road so long, seeing so much, and staying up all night. Russ and I didn't say goodbye to eachother. We have our own little game like that. No hug. No ceremony. Just a "see you soon" and a smirk. We only see eachother on big Adventures, Alaska, Israel, Costa Rica, Mt. Sinai at 3am on camel back, Safety meeting on the side of an ancient endangered Red Wood clipped onto a 160 ft long rope. Anywhere fun. So I walk up to the lady and put my tattered passport on the counter, the passport that got dropped in the Jordan River and that my Patchouli oil spilled all over in my pack, and the Check in Check out lady says "One way ticket From Cleveland to Taayhjuuuhhhh?". I looked up at her. "How do you say that sir?" she said with a clenched brow and a smile. I looked up out of my daze and let my cheeks be light too and said "Teh-Guh-Si-Gul-Pah, Tegucigalpa, It's the Capital of Honduras". And I began to blab about where I thought I was going. And she said wow and wished me luck and It was really only then that I gave any real thought to where I thought I was going. I knew it had good ingredients for a special time but I had spent no time planning or plotting or even imaging too much". I think people call that "getting excited". "So, are you getting excited for your trip?" I always hear people say. "I'm trippen right now lady" I a say to myself "And so are you".
Sometimes Its hard going through security with a beard and hair and dark skin, and some people think I look like Osama. Jesus or Osama. Never in between. Never "Hey man, did anyone ever tell you, you look just like that actor. Just Jesus or Osama (or Yoni). So I carry in one hand my wooden flute and in my other my guitar, the one that has no case, with stickers on it of rainbows and snails and smiley faces from Mollie-Jo, and the security people know that Im a hippie and not a terrorist. Hippies love to love and hippies love world peace and hippies never do things like car bombs or Gihads. I slept so hard that flight. I stayed in first gear as I switched planes and then fell back asleep. Woke up for the final approach. The captain got on to give his preparatory shpiel about landing. It reminded me of when I was a Kid and Mom would be pulled up to a red light in that maroon station wagon, and turn around and look at us and say "Boys, it's put on shoes and get ready to go time". "Top notch behavior, I want top notch behavior boys". And the words would come into my head, I mean I heard them, but the signals always seemed to get faded somewhere along the synaptic highways, rarely actually making it to my muscles. I tried to consciously do the same with the captains words, to give them no space in my thoughts. But then he began to deviate from the script and my synapses picked up the beat. "Ummm, I just want to let you know, so you wont be alarmed when you look out the window, we will be flying very close to the tops of mountains and the tops of trees, but this is totally normal and OK, and then just before we land we're going to have to make a real quick 90 degree sharp left turn and you know, some people have gotten a little scared (re-assuring chuckle) but this is totally normal. Oh, and one more thing. When we land we're going to have to really hit the brakes, so we dont go past the runway (chuckle), so don't be alarmed".
If you Google "Worlds Shortest International Runway" Tegucigulpas Tecontin International Airport pops right on up. I was told that some pilots refuse to fly there. Wikipedia will tell you that "This airport has received much criticism for being one of the most dangerous in the world due to its proximity to the mountains…" and will further go on to tell you about how it was a bombed a few decades earlier by El Salvador in what is know as the "Soccer War", a six day war that erupted after the second North American qualifying round of the 1970 FIFA World Cup soccer match between the two countries. The game was a do or die divisional tie breaker and political tensions where already boiling between the neighbors. El Salvador won the game, riots began, and the war started the next morning. No one won that game. I'm fairly certain that everyone could have been doing something better with their time. 2000 died and 100,000 displaced. Actually, there was one guy who made out alright. There was a General in Honduras who made up fake battalions that only existed on paper and he pocketed all the money allocated to his imaginary troops, which put quite a drain on the military. I guess Karmas a bitch when your an asshole. The war slogan that became popular in Honduras during the 100 hour, self inflicted, self depreciating, self-destroying, self abusing session was "No pasarán y no pasaron¡ No pasarán! They will not pass and they did not pass!" and I wonder if the slogan was birthed in reference to border defense or the soccer match.
Anyways, It felt really good to land. The sun was seething hot scorching the runway and the air outside looked still and the sky so blue, hot blue. The sky had evaporated any thought of a cloud . And as the captain slammed the brakes, (I pictured him freaking out in the cockpit) I looked out my window and and watched the palm trees and the parked green fighter jets pass me by. I gave the captain a hi-five before walking down the stairway onto the tarmac . Got a new stamp for the old stamp collection and then found a short man named Jesus holding a sign with my name on it. I got in his red pick up, the one that needed to be hotwired each time it was turned on, and we rode out deep into the countryside.
Now, Im standing in Yonis apartment in the Big City. Lights are off to save electricity. Weatherman says it feels like a hundred outside. A FRICKEN TORNADO IN BROOKLYN! Hope its not too late. And I haven't been in a space, place, alone, in months. Honduras, Cleveland, Chicago, Arkansas, Israel in the last two months I think. I really dont even keep track. And I always forget where Ive been when and when Ive been where and who I've been where and all that jazz. Just a bunch of rolling moments. And we try to make them good. So Im standing in Yonis apartment. I duped in From Honduras Last night at two thirty in the morning. Paraded out of the airport. Said goodbye to the group. Cab driver told me about the flood and the twister and as I drove away from the "Developing world" Into the "Developed" I scratched my head. The fancy man from the US Agency for International Development in the Embassy in Tegu, just that same morning before the flight, With his power points and his swivel chair, told me with his arms folded and through his smug grin about how "In the 3rd world, Culture gets in the way of Development". He proclaimed "Corruptions is the misallocation of public resources for personal gain. We have corruption too in the U.S.A. The Difference is we have a fair/just legal system that holds people accountable." Without batting an eye my friend said "like Scooter Libi?" "Well no ones perfect" big brother reassured us. Made me think a bit. Are we developed? Are we done? Sure as shit hope not. Do we even want to be developed? Personally? Or is it healthier to stay in a state of constant development. And as I walked into JFK with all of its grandeur and girth and noise and hustle and magazines and smoke and clothes stitched in maquilas by my friends and beans carried on the backs of my friends for 2 dollars a day and just so much stuff, stuff everywhere. Every direction I look, Everything touched and changed, then slathered in a veneer of sterility. Makes me wonder. If the developing world actually developed like us, whos backs would it be upon? Who would cut their grass for them and make their trash disapear? Whos resources would they exploit?