I was going to entitle this post “Something freaked me out on the way to the bookstore”, but that wouldn’t have been quite correct, for reasons which will become apparent in a minute. The spooky/freaky part is true however…….
So what happened is that over the last few days my ‘reading materials’ have been arriving for my trip in October. On the ‘Trip Notes’ supplied to me by Exodus Travel, was a recommended reading list, and having looked at it, I couldn’t decide which of the books to buy. Now this may not surprise anyone who knows me, as I do sometimes suffer from almost complete paralysis when it comes to making what might appear the simplest of decisions. I think this is an inherent inbuilt defect of mine, or one of the many.
Take for example something like a restaurant menu, which can sometimes floor me just by itself, unless I have been to the restaurant before of course, in which case I will order what I ordered the last time I was there 99.9% of the time. I could stare at restaurant menus for ages, they are just very interesting things, and choosing is very hard. What generally happens with me is that I’ll narrow my choice down to maybe two things, or sometimes three, and then ask what the people I am with are having. If one of them is having (as they of course made their minds up very readily and certainly within a few minutes of looking at the menu) something that is on my ‘list’, then I have to dismiss everything from my list and start looking all over again. I am sure this is incredibly frustrating for everyone else, and maybe accounts for the fact that I don’t get invited out to restaurants very often.
The worst moments happen when a ‘surprise question’ is thrown at me by the person taking the order – waiters and the like, those sort of people. They can freeze me to the spot. I was in a pub the other day and narrowed down my lunch choice (from a list of about twenty items, and inside about four minutes, exceptional for me) to a Steak Sandwich with onions. I was very pleased with myself and about to turn around and go find a table, when the guy taking the order said to me “do you want that on white or brown or a baguette”. Oh heck – did he know who he was talking to? I had no idea, I mean none whatsoever! You see it wasn’t written down on the menu as such – it just said “steak sandwich with onions – £5.99”. Nice and easy see, I didn’t even have to choose ‘with or without onions’.
Now if it had said “available on brown or white bread or a baguette” I could have thought about it and chosen in advance. It would have taken a few more minutes, granted, but it wouldn’t have been too hard, even for me. Instead I am stood there like some sort of Mr. Bean lookalike, sort of half bending over and making strange facial expressions. All the while I am thinking “what if the baguette is a little on the hard side – then I will wish that I had chosen the white”, and then “but surely the brown is better for me”, and then “but brown just doesn’t taste as good does it?” and so on. I then say “ermmm, I don’t know”, which is a bit pathetic really isn’t it! I mean it is not after all the hardest decision in the world, is it? I drive myself nuts, I really do:D
Sometimes I get asked ridiculously hard questions, like when I choose some water, and I get asked “still or sparkling sir?”. Arrrrrrggghhhhhhh – I know I should be prepared for that one, but it floors me every time, it really does. Anyone reading this is probably thinking “Christ this guy is a nutter of major proportions and a nightmare to go for a meal with”. Everyone is thinking that apart from my daughter that is, who is a lot worse than me, I assure you. You have to be there sometimes, you really do, or maybe you don’t.
Anyway, as I was saying about the books, I got a list of nine books from Exodus, all about either Nepal treks or the Everest region. Some people would have chosen one or two. Some people may not have chosen any. I looked at the list and thought (no, I won’t tell you what I thought, it’ll take all night) ‘oh bugger, what do I do now?’. What I then did was to study the list more closely and found out that I already had two of them and was currently reading them both (as I couldn’t decide which one to read first – I have about twenty other books beside my bed for the same reason). So I thought, “I know, I’ll buy all of the remaining seven”, and so I did. Easy, see!
So here I am looking at the expanding pile of books coming into the house, and stacking them on my bedside table (I never, ever read in bed either, so why I do that I don’t know), when I realise eventually that I didn’t receive seven books but eight. And here is the point of the title of this post too: I should say here that within me, despite my absolutely apparent inability to do anything more than just to trek to base camp (and I hope I can achieve at least that), is a desire to climb the big one. I cannot think of anything more exulting or exciting, or difficult, or with as much sense of achievement next to it, even for people who climb mountains all their live, let alone me. In fact I am also, coincidentally (or actually not coincidentally at all) watching a few DVDs that I bought on climbing Everest too. Just out of ‘interest’ you understand….
So anyway, there amongst “Trekking in the Everest Region”, “Everest, A Mountaineering History” and “In the Footsteps of Tenzing Norgay”, and the others is a book that I did not, I can asssure you, buy. I know that because it is not on the list, so I wouldn’t have even known about it. And if I had I would have had to choose it from a list or something :). The title of the book? It is called “Die Trying”. I kid you not. The subtitle is “One Man’s Attempts to Conquer the World’s highest Seven Summits”.
I will read the book, eventually. I hope, for one, even if perhaps there are a few waiters and waitresses around these parts who think otherwise, that the ‘book’ has a happy ending……