Serotonin is the feel good chemical that our brains release – well when we feel good. And apparently eating chilies is known to trigger this. It certainly does for me. I’m not one of those people who eats raw chilies in competitions but I do like some spice in my food.
I have eaten raw chilies in the past. One memorable occasion was when traveling around India. We were eating cauliflower curry in a little restaurant in Northern India. The kind of place that the locals eat, where food is good and they come around with chapatis and a plate of green chilies. We were the only non-Indians in there and it felt like the whole place waited to see my reaction when I bit into the hot pepper. It was very hot but my pride and macho stupidity prevented me from showing it. Good times.
Time is too slow for those who wait,
Too swift for those who fear,
Too long for those who grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice,
But for those who love, time is Eternity.
Henry van Dyke (1852-1933)
The eye sees, but can I see me. Mistaking the map for the territory, the menu for the meal – classic mistakes.
This is not me after all.
What is it about hats? Men’s hats, I mean. There was a time when just about every man wore a hat. I don’t know if I’d like those days to return. Imagine if they did.
We’d need to learn a whole new etiquette. Tipping our hat to ladies. When and where to take the hat off. How to wear it. Straight, tilted back or forward, or at a jaunty angle.
Would men wear their hats indoors? If not we might see the return of the hat and coat check. Or hat stands?
Personally I don’t like seeing men wearing their hats in restaurants. Mostly they’re baseball hats. And if you’re past your teens there’s no excuse for wearing a baseball hat. [Perhaps if you are playing baseball, I’d allow that.]
Cars might need more headroom too. [Is that why cowboys drive big trucks, so as to have room for their stetsons?]
I was leaning across the table so I could hear properly. The usual cacophony of noise from the street was doing its best to defeat me. Car horns competed with street vendors and it wasn’t clear who was winning.
Tamsin was complaining about her numb bum, that I could tell. We’d all come off the same train at Jaipur and those uncomfortable seats were a recent memory. Her bloke, Tim, was laughing. I didn’t think Tamsin thought any of this was funny.
Inevitably, like all travelers in India, we got onto the state of the toilets. The Canadian, Brett, started it by asking if any of us had been to the washroom at the cafe. Tim said, you’d hardly call them wash rooms.
Brett didn’t laugh. We were all Brits except him so I expect he thought we were mocking him. Or he just didn’t get British humour.
Tamsin started an exaggerated story about her first visit to an Indian style loo. It was a rite of passage that we’d all gone through. I for one was looking forward to telling a version of this story to horrify my parents when I got home.
“What’s the tap and the cup for, I thought! That’s why I carry this around.”
And she got a loo roll out of her bag and plonked it on the table. Brett was the only one not to laugh. He just grabbed it and ran to the back of the cafe.
I’m ashamed to say we all laughed.
I’m sitting at the greyhound station. The bench is uncomfortable but I can’t sleep. I am too edgy. There are not many others waiting at this late hour. A young couple, snuggled up together, one battered case by their feet. Across from me is a priest. He seems edgy too. Every few minutes he shifts position. He has a black book, that I presume is the Bible, which he holds in his lap. There are greasy finger print marks over the cover. When he catches me looking at him, I smile weakly and look away, though not before I see him smile.
The loudspeaker is shrill and startling in this otherwise quiet place. It announces that the bus for Little Rock is due to leave. The young man grabs their case and puts a protective hand on his girl’s back. He looks at the priest and nods. The priest winks. It is shocking somehow. I don’t know why at first. Then it strikes me.