Saturday, May 8, 2010

Baptism by Fire

SE Asia is the place to be if you want to conquer your fear of the dirty.  I didn't used to handle icky things.  Here, it's no problem to pick your nose in public, and the 'farmer blow' is an acceptable thing to do in the middle of the sidewalk, at the beach, into the sink where you wash dishes at the restaurant.  Yesterday I came around a corner to find a woman with her finger up her nose.  Had the situation been reversed, I would have pretended I was just scratching, but she just left her finger up there, nodded, smiled at me and kept digging.

Over the last three days I have:
Put my backpack on the dirty dirty ground. 
Picked up that backpack and put it on my back.
Put a very used bus blanket and pillow against my skin.
Washed my clothes in the sink and dried them on the beach.
Peed in a men's urinal.

And right now I am laying on the hotel blanket.  I can smell my armpits.  I just traveled for twelve hours on a disgusting bus and now I'm at the hotel.  In the past I might have run to the shower and not touched anything until I was clean, but here I am, chilling on the blanket that never gets washed.

I have a feeling if a gecko ran up my leg I would just calmly brush it off.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too was baptized. I used to be a germ-phobe with OCD. I couldn't pick up a dirty washcloth at my parent's home. Then I backpacked across SE Asia and my phobia was healed. By healed I mean things In Asia at times are so disgusting that by the mere fact your body can survive and maintain against such insurmountable filth and germs... well, it puts everything into perspective. If I could use a stall where the guy in front of me just ralphed and shat himself at the same time and still not die from it, I figured I'd be okay touching my parents kitchen wash cloth. It changed my life. When I returned I was about to chop vegetables on a dirty (5 day old) butcher block and Annie was like, "What are you doing?" And I told her, "Hey, we survived an entire summer of God knows what and never got sick (its true, I found out I don't get sick from food anywhere) and now you're concerned about this filthy butcher block?"

Guess what, we didn't get sick from it and I'm free :0)


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