I will admit to always feeling a little frantic when it comes time to leave the US and return to China. There are always things that needed to be done that never got checked off our list, people we wanted to see who we weren’t able to connect with, places we wanted to go that never quite worked out. There is the sadness at leaving behind family and friends. The last day or so I start to feel panicky. The last few times it has been very, very hard to organize myself to actually get on that plane. I don’t want to be dramatic, it isn’t like that scene from Dead Man Walking, but those last few steps onto the plane seem to happen in slow motion. I’m not the only one who feels this way. I won’t name any names, but other expats have mentioned feeling their hearts constrict in those minutes before the plane takes off. I am usually the lady wrangling her kids while taking deep breaths and hoping they start drink service ASAP so I can get a glass of wine. Yes, even on the morning flights.
So imagine my surprise when people posted this on their Facebook pages:
Of course, people began commenting on how sad it was and how there must have been something else happening. Maybe she had taken some medication that interacted with the alcohol or maybe she had been drinking profusely in the lounge before she boarded the flight. I don’t know, of course, and it is horrible that they needed to divert the flight and that she was arrested, but the overwhelming feeling that washed over me after reading the article was relief. There, I said it, I was relieved. Relieved that I wasn’t the only crazy one, the only one who occasionally thinks about flipping out on that return flight to Shanghai. Even better, I am not the one who let the crazy out on the return flight to Shanghai. Success! Let’s all consider this a triumph. Because there is crazy and there is China crazy. I think we all know which kind of crazy I am. (I am hoping you all thought “China crazy.” You did, right?) China makes you crazy. You need evidence? I submit the best comments concerning this incident gathered from friends and acquaintances:
“That’s what 9 years in Shanghai will do to you.”
“She must have been drinking that fake Chinese wine made with turpentine.”
“And they were in first class. Those seats lay all the way flat!“
“Some people just can’t handle Shanghai.”
“China DOES make you crazy.”
And last but not least: “At least she ended up in an American prison.”
So now when we make the trip back and forth from China to the United States, I will have even more reason to try to keep my crazy to myself. I certainly don’t want to follow in the footsteps of this trailblazer. No copycat crime for me– no matter how much I might sometimes dread returning to Shanghai. Of course, if we are in economy then all bets are off.