December 18, 2005
When I'm on the verge of tears, I'll remind myself, even if it
is a tumour it'll be an adventure.
Give me a five-star hotel that doesn't move and I'm thrilled. Boats - no matter how luxurious - are not my thing. So I'm torn. I have a chance to meet my father in Rangoon and cruise up the Arawady river. But I get motion sickness: boats, even when they're docked, move. Plus, Burma sounds buggy.
Lots of mosquitoes. Which means shots and pills, which probably won't work.
Because even if the malaria-carrying mosquito has to buzz all the way over from Kenya, it will find me and make the bite. And then there's the flight, 13 hours - to catch malaria in the jungle? Tough call.
My father couldn't believe his ears. Was I really going to pass this up? "Where's your sense of adventure?" But we all have different ideas of adventurous. Passing up on an adventure is just a different way of being adventurous.
I've always thought of an adventure as a substitute for a catastrophe. When I'm on the verge of tears and need to stay calm, I'll remind myself that even if it is a tumour, it will be an adventure. Or when I've been given the wrong dry cleaning, it's an adventure to discover that someone else's Prada blouse fits.
I met a friend for lunch and asked him what exactly is the definition of adventure. He said it's to recognise when you are comfortable, and then to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Like switching shampoos?
Going by his definition, it's adventurous of me to get out of bed when I'm tired and wanting to sleep more. Or to eat sushi from a salad bar on a Sunday. After 9pm.
Staying 15 minutes longer at a party than I would like is an
adventure for me. So is engaging in a conversation about an article
that appears in the Motoring section. Or wearing high heels and not
taking a taxi. I take risks all the time! Not to mention taking
emotional risks. I've been Touching the Void for decades. But no
one gives out medals for continuing to exist.
The other night I was about to order in a pizza from my regular restaurant.
But for no reason, I decided to try somewhere new. I had no idea
if it would be soggy, how thick the crusts would be or if the
cheese-to-sauce ratio would be right. I didn't know if it would
arrive hot or how long it would take. But despite this, I took a
risk. The whole time I waited for my pizza, I thought: "There are
people in the world who never try new things.
I'm glad I'm not like that." I felt good. Adventurous. (The pizza was disgusting.)
I haven't decided yet what to do. I spoke to my father and asked if I could do the trip, just without the boat. He was silent for a few seconds. Then he said: "It's a cruise."
Maybe I should do it. There's always the chance the boat will sink before the mosquitoes pick up my trail and decide to zero in on me.