One of the oddest things about me is that it’s easier for me to go to India than it is to go to the post office. It’s easier for me to go scuba diving than to buy a packet of stamps. Regarding going to India, I’m talking everything—go get a passport picture taken for the visa, stand in line for hours at the consulate, buy the plane ticket, fly eighteen hours in a cramped airplane seat to the other side of the world, stand in line again. And that’s just the beginning—everything requires standing in line there. I’m also talking getting Delhi Belly and talking to and feeding lepers in the street.
Scuba diving requires getting to the place, putting on your gear….well, you get the idea. Meanwhile, the post office is just down the street. It even has a parking lot. I can’t explain myself.
One time I was sitting in an auto rickshaw in India watching an older woman line up her few possessions on the sidewalk, sweep out her little makeshift tent with a tiny broom, and start putting the items back. She could sense someone was watching her, and she looked over at me with (what I took to be) fierce indignation and pride.
I wish I could have told her that I was admiring how much reverence she treated each object with. Moments like that put everything in perspective, for a while, until it wears off. And then I’m back to the LA striving thing along with everyone else.
But one thing is for sure—my travels make me love my adopted town all the more. As I ride the airport bus, there are those palm trees, lifting my heart anew. The palm trees in Viet Nam and Thailand and Australia and Florida lift my heart, too, but somehow this is different.
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