BY EVA LIAO — BEIJING, CHINA — On the day we fly to the Republic Of China, my father and I meet my mother at Chiang Kai-Shek Airport, where she is flying in from the U.S. (Click here to get the backstory on my mom) When she arrives, it’s obvious my mom’s already drunk. It’s 8 a.m. While we’re standing in a very long, very static check-in line, my mother and I decide to make a trip to the bathroom. Before I’m even able to pull my pants down, I hear the distinctive click and woosh of a can tab cracked open, followed by an unmistakable fizzling sound coming from the stall next to mine. A loud fizzy sound. I stand up on my toilet seat and look over the divider to see my mother sitting on the toilet with her with her underwear around her ankles, drinking a can of Coors Light. I don’t know if I’m more embarrassed by the time, the place or her choice of beer.
I ask her what the fuck she thinks she’s doing and she gives me a guiltless shrug. I sneer in disgust, jump off the toilet seat and tell her to hurry the fuck up. The group of women waiting in line watch my back as I storm out of the bathroom. Later on, as we’re approaching security, I remind my mom that airports now have a no-liquid law. She nods, but I can’t tell if she’s heard me. Not surprisingly, when her purse goes through the x-ray, she’s told to stop. The security guard digs into her oversized, Mary Poppins-esque purse and pulls out not one, not two, but three cans of beer. The whole line in stopped, watching of course, and I’m standing there positive that the flames radiating off my cheeks are palpable. They run the bag through the x-ray again, and again the conveyor belt stops. I can’t tell if the security guard is annoyed or amused, but I’m guessing both. He pulls out one last Coors Light from her bag and finally, we’re able to go. I don’t talk to my mom for the remainder of the flight, which is fine because she passes out in two seconds anyway.
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ABOUT THIS COLUMN: Phawker Assistant Editor EVA LIAO is currently visiting family and friends along the Pacific Rim. TAO OF EVA is a collection of her semi-regular dispatches back to the home office.