Being Careless What I Wish For

Two frigid twits checked in my bags. The one I dealt with resembled an onion with a face painted on it. Her dark, oiled hair was pulled tightly back. The sheen of it matched the sweat coating the skin above her stenciled eyebrows.

Here are the events that set me upon the twit’s icy scorn: conditioned to believe that international flights include a checked bag, I failed to pre-book one. Charged an exorbitant amount at check-in, I became irritated. Descending into pathetic, hopeless indignation, I stood in front of the high marble counter and wasted everyone’s time insisting that she charge me a fair rate.

If course I had practicality on my side. But practicality is meaningless in the realm of nickle-and-dime airline policies. So I berated her futile station in such an eloquent and subtle manner that the effrontery couldn’t be felt consciously. But it could be felt. Too ill-versed to know how I was mocking her. Too proud to hint that she didn’t. My comments sank into that squishy gap between her scarred armor. Then, after stretching out the inconvenience for as long as I could, I paid.

And it was off to Bali without a plan. Indonesia was the first country I entered by the seat of my pants. I hadn’t arranged accommodation. I hadn’t even looked at a map. All I went in with was the wish that I’d buy a surfboard, meet a surf girl, and find a little bungalow near the beach with her.

My first Indonesian night went as smoothly as if I’d planned it for months. It was too easy, disappointingly easy. Those seeking to step out of their comfort zones would have a hard time finding more than the ire of being ripped off. Except of course, for the traffic. Magnificent chaos, it flows like water. Asia is a land where buses brush elbows without a flinch, and family trees ride scooters without a blink.

I was acquainted with the madness, and I knew how to haggle, so I transitioned into Bali like a turtle to a beach. I used the Wi-Fi in the airport to select a cheap hostel, and haggled with a Taxi driver to take me there. A German boy flashpacker split the ride with me, and we checked in just before dawn.

A few days in Seminyak, Bali reacquainted me to the chaotic pace of Asia. By the time I left Asia nine months later, the looseness by which rule of law and general etiquette is administered would become an outright preference.

The German boy lost his wallet and guilted me into a transfer of funds. He paid the principle, but neglected the international transfer fees. I paid for his naivete, the dolt. But together we met and befriended a dark-skinned beauty of exceptional passion.

He eventually fucked off to Gili, or Ubud, or wherever the next tourist trap beckoned from. She and I bought surfboards, and booked a luxurious room together near the beach. I remember it costing 150,000 IDR ($11.50) a night, split two ways. All good things in Indonesia.

The waves were big, and the nights were fun, but I failed to do right by my new lover. For three days I reconciled a disharmony that glared at me from behind her eyes. I evaded it, dodged it, covered it up. But that inevitable fight burst forth. And lacking a history of rapport to stick together, we fell apart.

So like a trickster genie who’ll grant you a mountain of gold, but bury you under it, so the madly fluxing world granted me a beautiful surfer in paradise to have her torn away by the vicissitudes of emotion.

HA! I laugh at the cosmic joke. I love it. How can I but be charmed. How great to have received exactly what I asked for. Great because, for a brief period, it was as perfect as I could’ve possibly hoped. I remember the moment we arrived. Just out front she tipped the bike, and the blistering exhaust seared on me an indelible scar. Flustered, but unangry I jumped in a cool shower. Then, finished and refreshed, I opened the bathroom door, and she stood before me brushing her hair wearing nothing but a smile that was equals parts ‘I’m Sorry,’ and ‘Take Me.’

Every time, ‘exactly what I wish for’ comes with an unexpected catch. It keeps life real and interesting. Chased with good humor, reflected upon without resentment, these experiences become jewels that resound their sentiment eternally.

So be careless what you wish for. Wish for it well. Be oriented to capture that thing. And when the inevitable skunk of reality waddles through your sought after peach orchard, remember the sweet flavor, not the caustic stench.

Thank you for reading.

-C

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