Demerol? Oh my, his God is Demerol?
Yeah. So, a week later & I'm still having trouble digesting the news...and its full impact. I feel silly weeping over a person that I essentially did not know..never met..never even saw perform live in person. But the feeling I experienced & continue to experience in light of the news of his death is very tangible, visceral and real. I'm certainly more than a casual fan. I mean, eighteen or so years between a fan and an artist is a long & significant relationship. An indirect and at times remote relationship..but a true and full one nonetheless. One that can be very personal.
The devastation (and shock) that I feel is on a scale larger than I ever expected.
I'm interested in pop culture in general. I enjoy analyzing it. I enjoy studying it. I probably spend too much time on it.
I've always been the first to acknowledge that I take the music I listen to & the people who create it very seriously. I am not a casual listener. I seek complete context. In that way, I connect myself to these people, these artists, in such a manner that it really becomes a huge investment.
Not only was Michael Jackson the very first artist I exhibited an interest in independently...his music was the first that I studied.
I remember I once thought that perhaps people might revere a man they once absolutely ridiculed. It was just three years ago, actually. Someone posed a question every fan considers at some point & I responded without thinking:
I kind of feel like the general public is going to realize what asses they were only after his death, you know? and that all these secret MJ fans are gonna suddenly come out of the woodwork and proclaim their love for him and act like they were with him all along..because that seems to happen a lot once an artist dies. You know? Suddenly it's cool to like them...I don't know. I feel like MJ is gonna be remembered for his musical legend, not all the crap the press puts out (obviously) but I mean even with non-fans. It's gonna be such a sad day! But like others said, I think we have a long, LONG while before we have to worry.
Clearly, I was wrong. Wrong about the general public being respectful enough of a dead man with a family to not turn his death into yet another tired & unnecessary tabloid circus story & wrong about having a long while before his death. I think I was right, however, about the after-death phenomenon where an artist suddenly becomes everyone's favorite just because he or she has died & it becomes the 'in' thing to do.
Does it make sense that I feel an almost angry (and definitely nonsensical) protectiveness over Michael concerning these new post-death "fans"? The dude is dead. It doesn't even affect him, really. I'm so ridiculous, haha.
I do feel a little selfish mourning him so intensely when I'm only a fan. Almost like..I'm disrespecting his family and friends, those who really knew him, in a way..by feeling a loss so deeply that I am essentially removed from as a virtual stranger. Though I will say that Michael was one of those rare artists that a fan could feel really connected to. Like, when he would say, 'I love my fans,' each fan might feel it as if he were addressing him or her individually.
I once heard a fan of Mickey Rourke say of Mickey, "I find it so poignant and beautiful that he somehow managed to become both beauty and beast in one lifetime. It makes him so unique and fascinating," and I believe that the same sentiment may apply to Michael...
I mean, I do not think he was a beast. I know he was not a beast. But there are many people who unfortunately believe that he was and still perceive him to be one.
I'm not sure how to convey how much he & his music have meant to me over the years. I'm not a throwaway blindly delusional fan by any means, (I do not think he's faking his death like some fans unfortunately do, come on people, I realize we're all blindsided but wake the fuck up. You're only hurting yourselves.) & yet I've never loved another artist quite like I have MJ.
Any fan who is more than just a casual listener will understand what I mean when I say that we reveled in Michael's successes, tirelessly defended his eccentric antics, felt a degree of his pain, & certainly mourn his passing to the fullest extent. I think the fact that my mourning is so intense for someone I never met just speaks to what a great person he was.
He was an incredibly endearing persona, really. Heartbreakingly endearing!
The mainstream media just chose to ignore it over the years!
He had his own personal accent...a Michael Jaccent, if you will, haha. "I am un-nured to accept this a-wurd." Child became chowwld. World became whirld. Ugh, adorable.
& who else would even care to worry about whether we had lost the trust of elephantswith such forceful, earnest concern? Only Michael Jackson, hahaha! :') He was such a Disney character sometimes.
It's difficult to reconcile all these different emotions that his death has evoked.
To use his own words: [Michael], forgive us...Those men who raise their [pens] over you are also fathers and brothers and sons. They have loved and cared for others. One day they will extend that love to you. Be sure of it and trust.
I'm going to miss that fly-ass motherfucker so much. SO. MUCH.
Let's move on from Michael, shall we? I could write about shit like this endlessly, so I'm just going to stop now and change the subject.
JET LAG BECOMES HER.
Flight from Atlanta to Shanghai: 16 hours.
While waiting in the gate before boarding, I noticed that the girl seated across from me was staring at me very intently. I smiled to break the tension & she returned the smile & went back to reading her book. However, only a couple minutes passed before she was staring again. I grew a little self-conscious. Suddenly, she whipped a sketchbook out of her carry-on bag & flipped to an empty page. She proceeded to sketch for a few minutes. She kept stealing glances at me. It finally dawned on me that I was the subject of her sketch when I caught a glimpse of my face on the page. She would scribble and scratch with her pencil & show the book to her mother seated next to her to get approval.
Self-consciousness overwhelmed me. I could feel my ears burn, my eyes widen, my mouth curl into an involuntary, irrepressible embarrassed smile. I tried to stay cool, but years of being teased as a kid has made me extremely uncomfortable with being stared at like that. Yes, even at 21 years old. You'd think I'd get over it by now, haha. Thankfully, my seat was in the back of the plane so the girl got up to board before me and I had a few minutes to just relax before boarding.
The flight itself was okay. I had a middle seat between a window and aisle seat, so it sucked to have to choreograph my visits to the bathroom with Aisle Seat Woman..who never seemed to fail to have something for me to watch whenever she got up. "Can you keep an eye on my laptop while I go the bathroom?" Sure, lady, but what about my bladder?
I watched a couple movies. He's Just Not That Into You and New In Town. Both were forgettable.
At the end of the flight, I noticed all the Chinese passengers had taken out their cameras and were snapping away at something I couldn't yet see approaching in the aisles.
Before we could deplane, people dressed in all-over, all-encompassing white suits that only exposed the face (which was further half-concealed with a surgeons'/painters' mask) wielding thermometer guns and oral thermometers walked through the aisles. They held the thermometer guns up to peoples' foreheads. They administered the oral thermometer to those passengers with high temperatures & all the passengers chattered excitedly & pointed. How humiliating, I thought.
I should've known. I did feel warm..I had turned off the AC mid-flight. Great.
Once the white-clad people got to me, the temperature gun revealed a displeasing temperature. Of course. Just my luck. An oral thermometer was pointed at my face and I unconsciously left my mouth open after it had been placed under my tongue. I was too busy staring at all the passengers who were now wide-eyed, pointing & staring at me. Oh god.
The woman holding the thermometer impatiently gestured for me to close my mouth around it. I did. She took my temperature and walked on without a word. Mortifying.
Welcome to Shanghai.
2nd night in Shanghai: I was leaving a bar, walking from the door to the road when I heard a loud screech. I looked up. A woman on a bicycle-drawn cart had just turned onto the road from a small street parallel to the bar, perpendicular to the main road. A taxi came careening behind her cart & clipped the corner of it at full speed with such force that the cart flipped onto its side, the woman was thrown into the road, & the taxi fish-tailed slightly as it kept on driving away. I had just hailed a taxi myself to go back to the hotel, but by that time a man who had also witnessed the accident had scooped up the woman, whose knee was bleeding raw & hips were bent in a disconcerting fashion. I stepped back and gave them my taxi. They sped off to a hospital, I assume.
I can finally use chopsticks. I have no idea what I'm doing differently all of a sudden, but it's become so easy for me. A stark difference to just a few months ago.
I am almost too excited about it, hahaha.
^This image no longer applies to me! Yeayuhhh.
Unlike in Singapore, everyone in Shanghai stared at me because I obviously look different and have such long hair. I felt like a total circus freak by the end of my stay & it was hard to keep from glaring back at the perpetrators.
When I was leaving the hotel after my last night in Shanghai, one of the concierge dudes approached me. He told me that he didn't see me come in the night before after leaving the hotel at midnight & that he had stayed up all night waiting to be sure that I returned. I smiled and told him he had seen my twin sister leaving the hotel, returning to her dorm room, and that I was in the hotel room all night. He was so surprised, hahaha. He didn't realize I had a twin. I can't believe he waited up all night. Sweet guy.
Flight from Shanghai to Tokyo: 3 hours? 2?
I watched a little of 17 Again. I almost turned it off 2 minutes in when Zac Efron's character started doing some ridiculous MC Hammer shit with cheerleaders. I did turn it off after about 20 minutes.
THEN I made the mistake of casually paging though the in-flight magazine.
I happened upon a July calendar entitled 'The Hot List: The people, places and things you'll be talking about this month.' The very first item was MJ's This Is It! concert series. The magazine was obviously printed before his death: The King of Pop created a frenzy when tickets went on sale for his exclusive "This Is It!" performances at London's O2 Arena. The thrills commence July 8 and don't beat it until February 24, 2010.
Only no thrills will be commencing at all. How depressing.
I'm almost comforted by the fact that I was in Shanghai, in unfamiliar surroundings, when I heard the news of Michael's death. It offers a weak form of closure in a way. As if I can try to leave the sad memories in that hotel room in China for the time being.
Oops. I said I would change the subject, didn't I? My bad.
I had a 5 hour layover in Tokyo. Nothing exciting.
Flight from Tokyo to Atlanta: 15 hours.
A woman who had her 3 year old daughter with her gave my father and I two small containers of cherries about an hour before the flight ended. She had brought too much for her kid, apparently. They were cheapo plastic containers, but I still debated with my Dad for a couple minutes about whether she was expecting us to return the empty containers. He totally shut me down, haha. Yes, that is the most interesting thing about this flight that I have to share.
Riveting stuff, I know.
I've realized that I can't live away from my laptop. I'm definitely taking it with me to Australia. I just hope I have internet access where I'm staying.