Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What Won't Kill You

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Since my experience here is nearing an end, Scott asked me yesterday if I feel like I’ve changed. It’s hard to say. It’s not like I’ve grown extra limbs or have anything clear to point to you that I can say is different. Well, I guess I have that curvy scar on the back of my knee from the necrosis, and my bangs are still rather unattractive. But I don’t think that’s what he was asking.

“You don’t feel like you know a new culture? Like you’ve learned something about how other people live? Like the next time you run into an Indian person you’ll have a better basis on which to talk to him or her?” Scott asks. “I always feel like travel makes me grow.”

I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned and one thing that came to me was a sort of list. I’ve always tended to be a nervous sort of person, the one who worries about everything that could go wrong. I think I’ve learned while I’ve been here that a lot of things can go wrong and you’ll still come out okay in the end. To that end, here is a discovery I’ve made during my tenure in India: worrying about any of the following items doesn’t help one lick. So you may as well not worry.

Things that won’t kill you:
A strange skeleton key
A few ants marching around your bed
The Internet going out
A power cut
The cable going out
The toilet not flushing
A little case of necrosis
A driver who loves you
Your undergarments flapping in the breeze, hanging outside to dry
24 hours on a bus
Slinging over a river rapids on a rickety cable car
Getting your writing rejected
The Internet going out
Running late due to rain
Running late due to traffic
Running late due to someone else running late
A lack of street signs
A lack of street names
Strange beeps when you’re trying to make a phone call
The Internet going out
A power cut
Not having a cell phone for four days
Not talking to your spouse for four days
A lack of department stores
A lack of grocery stores
Dirty feet
Bad traffic
A tragically bad haircut
Time going too slowly
Time going too quickly
The Internet going out
A power cut
A mess of flies landing on the snack you’re about to buy
Some garbage on the street
A busted up sidewalk
Spicy food
Bumpy roads
Witnessing public urination
Smelling public urination
Dirty looks
Getting up at 5 a.m.
The Internet going out
A power cut
Not having plans until the night before you leave for a trip
A sketchy evening on an overnight train
A terrible dinner on an overnight train
The Bubonic flu
Tea at a drain party
Petting a stray dog
Bargaining with an auto wala
100 degree heat
Sweating until your clothes are wet
A driver who dislikes you
Paying more because you’re foreign
Worms in your cauliflower
Not speaking the language
Not seeing your spouse for three months
Not seeing your pets for three months
Not seeing your parents for three months
Not shopping at Wal-Mart
Not watching CNN
Not eating peanut butter
The Internet going out
A power cut

Instant coffee, though, that’ll do you in. Stay away from the stuff.


Nelle said...

You are so great. ;-) That list was so much fun to read.
I'm so looking forward to your return and being able to talk to you and give you a great big hug.

Vicki said...

So good to hear from you =) I can't wait for my hug =) Party at my house when I get back!

It's me mom said...

Bingo...that's it....the title for your book when, not if, you send it to the publisher. "What Won't Kill You". All the while I've been reading I've been wondering you could name the book to make people interested in picking it up to read it. You nailed it..look out David Sedaris.