Heather and Yacub: Not so different

In Flightpaths, we are presented with a very interesting narrative of a young man trying to better his life and the life of his family coupled with a similar, more “normal” narrative of a woman trying to do the same thing. Stowing away is never easy, but in these modern times when our mass transit vehicles travel at 30,000 feet in the air and not at sea level, things have never been so difficult for the desperate traveler. His desires are easy to sympathize with though his courage is vastly uncommon.

Going to Dubai seemed like a very good choice for a person in his circumstances. As a new city (New as compared to London) that is under construction, low level menial jobs are in no short supply. New buildings are under construction there including some of these monstrosities. It makes one wonder where this country is getting the money to undergo such extreme and extravagant projects, especially when it seems like the entire world economy is going down the drain. I love to hear the rumors about where big money comes from. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, the newest neighborhood Puerto Madero is quickly rising as a a place for the upper class to hang out. Fancy hotels arrived there first, then fancy restaurants, and now there are tall apartment complexes and super modern sky scrapers that are in great contrast to the rest of the city’s rustic (to put it mildly) sky line. Argentina is a poor country, and getting poorer. Ask any local how these buildings came to be and the answer is something out of a crazy action movie: The Russian Mob.

Dubai has a similar story. I’m not interested in the official statements, I want to hear the gossip because it’s a lot more interesting and probably a lot more true. I quickly googled “Where does the money in Dubai come from” and found my answer. According to this yahoo answers column, the money comes from oil sales and  banking. Not a big shock, but the most of the oil sales come from a shady deal that the Bush administration made with the Arabs, and a lot of the money in the banking field comes from illegal arms dealings. Where there’s illegal money, there’s illegal labor: a perfect place for Yacub to flee too… and from.

My apologies for the long tangent, I just thought that was all very interesting.

Yacub is from a small town in India, much like the young gentleman who this story is based on, and apparently Heather has a bit of an Indian background as well. When she mentions that her family could live for months off of the food that is stored in the cabinets, she mentions the presence of Tahini butter. Now, unless your cooking some Indian or middle eastern cuisine, you don’t have much use for this item. It is bitter on its own, expensive, and relatively hard to come by (at least in my experience). It is a main ingredient in hummus and other such food stuffs, so it is my deduction that she has a bit of Indian cultural background.

Yacub and Heather are very different people from very different worlds, but their similarities are much more interesting. They both end up in that super market parking lot because they are trying to provide for their families. Their worlds collide when Yacub falls unannounced from Heaven right into Heathers lap. The conversation they have (“Am I dead?”  “I Think so. You must be. Am I?”) is one I can imagine Mary and Jesus having if Jesus could’ve talked at his moment of birth. In a way, they both are dead. I don’t mean biologically dead, it just seems that their lives can no longer exist as they once did. Yacub survived a miracle, Heather’s ordinary day turned into a tale of extraordinary events. They both seem to forget the world around them. Yacub doesn’t ask where he is, Heather simply ignores all of the bystanders, and they simply agree to go grab some lunch. They both get something from each other: Heather gets something interesting in her otherwise drab life, Yacub gets a friend, a meal. They needed each other. It was a match made in (by? from?) Heaven.

It is anomalies such as this that really seem to bring people together. In House of Leaves, it is the unaccounted for 1/4 inch. It’s the mysterious narrative that Johnny is trying to piece together. It is these things that really enrich our lives and, unlike money, nobody can take them away from us. Collaborative stories are great because you get many different viewpoints on a scenario. With perspective comes insight and deeper understanding of what is really going on. Getting both Yacub’s and Heather’s point of view as he is falling from (or through) the sky makes the story a lost more interesting, especially since we were presented with their thoughts simultaneously.







~ by scootielou on March 21, 2010.

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