A bowl of personal identity served with blueberry pie
I don’t like roller coasters and I still get nervous on planes. The only reason I strapped a huge plastic tent to my back and jumped off a cliff yesterday was for no other reason than in the name of family: my sister wanted to paraglide.
So there we were in Yilan overlooking a beautiful ocean that would have looked better if we were on the beach instead of high up in the mountains. I knew I was going to be nervous about the jump, I’ve never liked that centrifugal gravity that confuses my stomach with my lungs, but I was going to do it for my sister anyway. I’m sure you’ve seen paragliding in pictures with blue skies above and feet dangling happily below. It’s actually quite different from the pictures though when you step out your car to a panoramic ocean view making it clear that you’re on the highest point all around with gale forces gushing into your face. It’s at situations like these that I think about how creative human beings have been with defying gravity by dreaming up an assortment of materials and testing them out with their lives. In this case, it was a plastic tent attached with flimsy strings.
Just as I was busy figuring out what to grab hold of in case the strings snapped while pretending to be funny and brave in front of my sister who suddenly wanted to back out, I heard a woman in her mid-forties say to her husband,
那是女的。(That’s a girl)
At that moment, it suddenly occurred to me that the majority of people gearing up were guys and all the six flying instructors were guys. We had been watching person after person disappear into the skies below for half an hour and this was the first girl to do it.
I don’t really know what to make out of this remark. There were two other girls suiting up apart from my sister, her friend and I, but they were Japanese tourists and we weren’t locals ourselves. I don’t know if it so happened that chance only put Taiwanese guys up in the air for display that day or if it were something more than by chance. Maybe it’s that sensitive feminist inside me thinking too much about that remark and that there can’t really be anything stopping Taiwanese girls from flying off cliffs. I mean after all, girls can fly if they want, right?
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