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INside Scoop January, 2008

The Writer at Work

INsight Fright
A crash flashes and a dear one passes
By  Daryl Jung

Air France crash, T.O./Ministry of Transport
I saw the near-deadly plane crash landing in Toronto, Canada in July before it happened.

I dreamed it. I was with the love (pre-Lisa B) of my clumsy and calamitous life, Suzanne, for just the second time since she moved out west ("Go west, Jung man!") in the late 80s as half of blond pop pap duo Lava Hay and went on to become a mother and wife of a professional rock'n'roller.

Normally, in dreamland, she's right annoyed with me and incessantly off to do something else (other, undesirable guys, more than once), and I follow after, always arriving a minute too late, just to hear the grizzly details. Never once had I caught up.

Then Rev. DuFois checked out (see last month's column) and a miracle happened. She waited for me, and was kind. She sat down with me on a park bench and was as I remember her, my Lil' Red Suzette. Shocked me silly. She caressed my face, and gave me that gaze that still makes my soul sing and my heart lurch when I see her in photos or in my mind's eye.

Couldn't wait to get to sleep the next night. Didn't see her at all, of course, just battled with NOW Magazine honcho Michael Hollett over some life-or-death issue or another, and lost. Following night though, she came to my place and we went for a walk out by the airport and, unfreakinbelievably, were kissing.

She had her eyes closed, and I was humming with unspeakable bliss. It was palpable, almost physically ravaging, because I knew it was gonna be soooo brief.

Her back was to the runway and I opened mine eyes and behold I saw -- a huge plane jumbo come down and touch down and skid and I watched and boom came the big flames.

We didn't know the outcome. I just said, "Yep. That's it. It happened," as it skidded and stopped and incinerated mightily. 'Zette said nothing (nor did she two nights previous, but sure beamed, bemused and benevolent, like an abject angel), just took my hand and we turned and walked away.

Next day, real-life, I was to deliver some meds to my dear Parisian friend Veronique. I was to meet her in Greektown, here in Toronto. It was real hot and I was 25 minutes late and as I finally trotted up she was literally bee-linin' to the subway, meds-less. Not good.

I yelled, she turned, and her eyes, as they sometimes are with me, were on fire. Flippin' passionate French! She was ready to explode into flames, but (very significantly, in the end, I think) I pulled a "charm ninja" worthy of Johnny Depp and she couldn't resist and forgave me forthwith.

So, obligation fulfilled, we did the sweaty double-cheek French peck thing and off I toddled to Terry-O's Sports Bar for a coffee. Sat down, Dora brought the joe, gave me the usual grief for making her "work," and commenced to watch CNN on the bar TV. Next instant, the initial newsflash came, already showing the freely raging fires.

Then they played the whole clip of the approach and landing, and pow! -- my dream played in my head again, unspeakafreakably identical(!) to the dream scene, and in fuuuull techincolor, to boot, this is high-tech schtuff! The mind as movie-machine.

And I had had nary a glimmer of a thought of the dream, nor even an airplane, since awakening from it. But it was just fookin' i-den-tih-cull. Identique! Only this time, no Suzette, obviously, sadly.

And of course it was Air France. So I got on the bar horn to V to tell her to put on CNN but she wasn't even home yet. When she got there, she called the bar and said it was the same flight she takes every time she comes back non-stop from Paris, which has been about 10 times in the last six months, as her mum isn't well.

Needless to say, I was a leeeeeettle freaked out, and I tried tellin' two relative strangers at the bar and they looked at me blank-o. So I knew it was useless. I told a few more, ya know, like, some acquaintances and one or two friends, "I'm psychic. I'm serious," and got 98% zip. Colleagues Rowdy Rhodes, Karen Williams and my mom make up the other two.

The punchline is, I couldn't peel myself from the screen in the bar until they announced that none of the 309 souls aboard even came close to dying, and the ordeal wasn't as unspeakably horrifying as I expected. I was petrified I'd pre-seen a tragedy. Seemed like friggin' hours!

Anyhow, the idea is that the overall outcome of the whole thing was benign, if not triumphant, as opposed to tragic. And the hope is my burgeoning prescience (please, please) be connected only with such events. Imagine, for a moment, my relief. It was unspeakable!

Ya know what I'm sayin'? Just had to write about it.

Bob and Jeannie Christensen 2003

Infinitely more important -- this edition of IN is dedicated to the memory of my father's younger cousin and my beloved friend, Robert Christensen, my sole fellow blue-eyed blond and the most radiant, radical and benevolent force in the family.

An educator of children of all ages, Bob was a devoted Democrat, he and me made two. He'd wear Kennedy sweatshirts ("Vig-ah!") to family reunions, to some genuine disgust, and loved to bait, "good-naturedly," conservative Republicans in general, which was everybody else (specifically) there.

And oh, did he relish the debate! His big blues would just shine, and he could capture a room like a benevolent, bearded, gentile Don Rickles. So Bobby was my hero, of all blood relatives, from an early age, a status he retained until he lost the most gallant and spirited run against long-term recurring illness I've ever seen in my life.

Many times over the years we'd hear he was "bad again," but without exception he bounced back like ebullient Flubber. His physical strength, near the end, did wane some, but his sense of humour, always, was as unfailing as his faith. I fully expected the same report as usual in mid-August. But, well, not this time.

Bob loved the arts, too, and made it known to his community in Santa Barbara, California, where he resettled from Iowa, as I did to here, and never looked back, as I didn't. His email was "farfarbob" and he wasn't kiddin'.

He was a staunch Dodgers fan and a Cribbage hound, and we did a lot of both together, once at Dodger Stadium against the Cubs in late summer 2001, on a break from games on the tube and the 101 games of crib we played during my stay. I won by one.

Above all, Bob was incredibly loving and much loved, and he'd give you the shirt off his back if you deserved it, sometimes even when you didn't. I guess you could say he embodied compassion.

I, my mom, dad and sister, Bob's wife Jeannie, sons Kevin and Eric, sister Carleen, sister-in-law Inez, granddaughter Emma, six-month-old grandson Noah and a host of others, will miss him more than words can express.

Well, Bob. As Dadie would say, "Got that done!"

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Daryl Jung
Inkwell Newswatch (IN)

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