FRANK TALK ABOUT WHAT WE DO WITH OUR LIVES

Story Slam: Round Three!

In Essays on February 13, 2014 at 1:50 pm

By Kate Gace Walton

1899901_454179711375004_1955187553_nNote: Here’s my latest shot at story-telling from the stage. This time the theme was ‘Dating: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’—but, as you’ll see, my story has a small connection to work as well. My other slam tales, which focused more centrally on work, were about the summer job I had at Yellowstone National Park and my most memorable night shift.

Dating has always seemed like kind of a long shot to me—the idea that two people might go from being perfect strangers to one day maybe even agreeing on how to load the dishwasher. Long shot, right?

So for the first part of my adult life, I essentially avoided dating completely by falling for my best friend from college. We were together for 13 years, and things were fine except that he was Chinese-American, and his parents noticed—pretty quickly actually—that I was not. When we decided to get married, after warming them up to the idea for more than a decade, it was too sudden.

They objected, so we hatched a plan: The Grand Gesture. WE would pick up from our beloved Brooklyn and MOVE to Taiwan, where they lived. THEY would then think their son was so great that his poor taste in women would be overlooked. What we didn’t anticipate was that my moving seven thousand miles closer would just make me seem that much taller, and that much whiter.

It soon became clear that a marriage would cause misery all ’round. We split up and, even though I had a job in Taipei, I was sorely tempted to go running home to New York.

But that seemed a shame. After all, Asia’s a biggish place with a longish history—even in my devastated condition, I could imagine that there was more to the region than weeping into my bubble tea. So I asked my company for a transfer to Hong Kong, and I promised myself that I’d stay there for at least one year. I allowed that on Day 365, it would be fine to go home.

The flight from Taipei to Hong Kong sticks in my memory. There I was, towards the back of the plane, teary still but at least the dry heaving that some of you will remember from your worst break-ups had more or less stopped.

A group of teenage girls boarded the flight, and one of them had a gigantic stuffed Snoopy. Gigantic. Probably about four feet tall.

The girls took their seats, and Snoopy’s owner held him on her lap, but when the flight attendant made the rounds, she said that Snoopy was too big for a lap. The flight attendant picked him up and handed him over, asking that I put Snoopy in the empty seat next to me.

And on her next pass, the flight attendant had another request: “That dog needs to be secured.”

And it was at exactly THAT MOMENT—when I was reaching across a GIANT STUFFED SNOOPY to BUCKLE HIM into his airplane seat—that I hear, “Hello, Kate!” and I look up to find standing in the aisle one of the most senior executives at my company, who has taken it upon himself to leave Business Class and visit Coach to welcome the newest member of the Hong Kong office. He’d probably heard of me as the American who had “suffered something of a personal setback”…evidently a setback that now caused me to travel in the company of giant stuffed animals that HAVE THEIR OWN SEATS. I know what he was thinking as he walked back to his champagne and almonds: “She better be good.”

Well, I don’t know how good I was…but what I DO know is that Hong Kong was very good to me. I stayed for a year, and on Day 365 I was happy, so I stayed for another…and another…and somewhere in there I went on the best date of my life, with a guy from Missoula, Montana of all places. Talk about long shots: the odds of meeting a nice guy from Montana when you’re living in Hong Kong were about two in 7 million. And the guy from Billings? He wasn’t even that nice.

But the one from Missoula? He was so great I brought him home. We’ve been married for seven years now, and we’re VERY close to a compromise on the dishwasher.

  1. […] the meantime, for a taste of the tales you might hear at such an event, here’s my latest from last month. The theme was ‘Dating: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’—but, as you’ll see, my story […]

  2. […] the meantime, for a taste of the tales you might hear at such an event, here’s my latest. The theme was ‘Dating: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’—but, as you’ll see, my story […]

  3. […] the meantime, for a taste of the tales you might hear at such an event, here’s my latest. The theme was ‘Dating: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’—but, as you’ll see, my story […]

  4. […] the meantime, for a taste of the tales you might hear at such an event, here’s my latest. The theme was ‘Dating: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’—but, as you’ll see, my story […]

  5. […] the meantime, for a taste of the tales you might hear at such an event, here’s my latest. The theme was ‘Dating: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’—but, as you’ll see, my story […]

  6. […] the meantime, for a taste of the tales you might hear at such an event, here’s my latest. The theme was ‘Dating: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’—but, as you’ll see, my story has […]

  7. […] the meantime, for a taste of the tales you might hear at such an event, here’s my latest. The theme was ‘Dating: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’—but, as you’ll see, my story has […]

  8. […] the meantime, for a taste of the tales you might hear at such an event, here’s my latest. The theme was ‘Dating: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’—but, as you’ll see, my story has […]

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