Things I Would Never Do

Posted: December 27, 2012 in Travel, Uncategorized Rambling
Tags: , , , ,

I’m leaving for India a week from today. I’m equal parts excited and nervous, but overall I feel wholly unprepared. I’m trying to remain slightly aloof, as if somehow I can become the kind of guy who can handle any situation with the charm and aplomb of James Bond simply by pretending. But alas, I’m me.

I think one thing that makes me super nervous is hanging out in the Delhi and Mumbai airports for like 6 hours overnight. I’m positive it will be fine, and I’ll just eat food in airport lounges and drink whatever booze they offer to business class travelers. My trek from international business lounge to Gate C7, or whatever it may be, will most likely be aided by a haze of whiskey and perhaps lingering Ambien. But this, in and of itself, is troubling. My fear of the experience encourages me to protect myself from it. As if that which I am currently observing requires a some sort of mental prophylactic to keep me safe. Ridiculous. I am.

Regardless, on a scale of 14-79, with 14 being the highest and 79 being the lowest, I’m at like a 65 on the worried scale — which is not dissimilar from the same worry you get from sitting in a showing of Django Unchained and realizing you’re sitting behind a black family with at least one child (child!) during a scene in which several white men cheer as dogs tear a slave to pieces. Oh, spoiler alert? It’s the kind of worry that crops up and disappears within just a few moments.

I digress. It’s gotten me to think a lot about what I want to do while in India, and what I won’t do. In 2011 I traveled to the Philippines and was positive I would experience the cultural delicacy called Balut. Then, I saw a picture of it: Not Appetizing. I tried other food, and definitely got experimental on a couple of less-than-completely-sober nights in Vietnam, but what would happen in India?

Along comes my buddy Chris. Do this! He says. It’s awesome! I don’t know, do you think I should? This has to be the most warped version of a sidewalk shoe-shine I’ve ever seen, and it immediately brings to mind two things. First: I hate people near my eyes and ears. In high school I was in theater, and routinely has visceral freakouts every time someone tried to do my eye makeup. Manly eye shadow, bro. Second: One time when I had a really wonderful cold I visited the clinic at the University of Denver in hopes of getting me a note telling me I wouldn’t have to wait tables for a couple days. They obliged, and also happened to notice during the course of their checkup that I seemed to have a large piece of wax lodged in my ear.


I was at once glad I could figure out why i had been unable to hear a lot of things for the last several days out of my left ear, and nervous for its removal. I hate things inside my ears, and I hate people touching them, generally. Unless it’s like, sexy-time style touching (but that’s a whole other blog entry entirely.) So did they just have the overweight 75 year old go ahead and remove the lodged piece of bling from my ear canal? Nope. They sent in the super cute 24 year old I was chatting with while I was signing in at the front desk. No ring, I had made a mental note. Which turned out to be good, because it probably would’ve left a mark on my head as I writhed under in her clutches, while she slide forceps inside my ear to latch onto and then retrieve a piece of wax that made a “slurp” usually reserved for the last couple sips of a milkshake as it exited my skull.

“All good!” she said, or something like it. I turned back over on the table with one eye crying. I figured she and I probably weren’t gonna go out for malts at the soda shop later, after that wonderful introduction.

I digress again. It’s not as if I’m worried that a gorgeous Indian girl won’t want to take me out for curry after she cleans my ears (who wouldn’t?!??!?!?!?!), but more that my innate fear of things might preclude me from getting into some trouble I really wish I had.

I may not get my ears cleaned on the street, but I’m definitely working hard to remember that we’re all just people. There are going to be so many crazy and wonderful things I’ll get to see and hear and taste and smell and experience. I’ve never skydived, but to me this is just before I jump out the door of a perfectly good airplane. The safer I know I am, the more adventurous I’ll be. So this one will be new. Not that I’m unsafe, but that this will be comfortable. I’m eager and excited and sound way more scared than I really am. But hey, only one way to find out how I’ll do, right?

  1. I just returned from India and miss it insanely.
    I look forward to reading your reflections on the experiences.
    And to up your Bondness, go to Udaipur. Every bar there plays Octopussy on a nightly basis.

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