Choose your own adventure.
When I was kid we had books called "Choose Your Own Adventure". You would be reading them and you would make a choice. For example, and this not real example, but you'll get the idea.
Actually,I found part of a page from the books, so you can see real example.
This is a pretty standard example. See, they lure you in by calling it the Abominable Snowman, and then you wind up trying to get permits to go to the park. What to do? Do I cancel the meeting with Carlos? Do I got meet with Runal? See this is a fairly accurate depiction of real life. Maybe "Choose your own Adventure", isn't the best description. I wouldn't call it an Adventure, but you do have to Choose. It is a dilemma. I mean, Carlos has such looooong meetings, but Runal, can he be trusted?Who has even heard of a Yeti permit? That sounds a bit fishy. I would rather turn to page 9 and skip it.
This is just the beginning so it's pretty low risk. But if you have invested hours into reading a book and you chose poorly and you - oh, I don't know - get eaten by jackals - what are you going to do? Start over? Begin the book from page one? Sure you would, if you were trapped on a desert island with only one book. But I would say 99.99% of people leave their thumb on original page from which they made their choice, and if they don't like the outcome of the choice they go back. There, they make the other, and 50% of the time, better choice. I remember the choices were fun when I was a kid - they were not "a meeting with Carlos" or "permits with Runal". But maybe I don't understand the nature of "adventure" any more.
So what would I personally choose? That's tough. I've never been to Nepal, but I've heard some pretty scary things about the bureaucracy - getting the permits will probably involve standing in a long line and there is no ride at the end. I'm not waiting in line to pay money and have somebody stamp a document. Wheee!!!! So personally, I'd meet Carlos and ask him to go get the permits with Runal - meanwhile, I'll go to page 9. Carlos can handle himself Let's go look for the yeti.
I'm going to continue the story and you get to choose. Once the millions of votes are counted, then I will write the next page. :)
You go to the meeting with Carlos. It was as long as you'd feared. Everyone sat around talking about the Local Sports Team. At the end you invented an allergy to "whiteboards" and said got him to cut the meting short. On the way out you patted him on the shoulder and said "tell Runal I said, 'hi'".
Carlos didn't know what to make of that. "What? Is he here?"
"No, no. I thought you might want to see him. He is down at the permit office. I think he may possibly have some permits for us. I guess you could ask him - if you wanted.'
Carlos shook his head, "You gotta stop doing that. It never works. Just ask for what you want, you don't have to trick people - use your words."
Raul then pats you on the shoulder and walks off, whistling, to see Runal. Carlos doesn't mind standing in line.
Let's get to the yeti tickets.
You've been in Dharamshala Nepal for 4 weeks. Still no permits You and Carlos are both getting grumpy.
Carlos says that your feet stink. You share a small room at a hostel and every day you or Carlos stands in line for the permits. It has become a routine, and not a pleasant one.
Then, one day, something miraculous happens. All the permits are gone. The yeti, it turns out, are actually not that uncommon after all.
They are good at hiding and they are really good at telling fortunes. So one day the scarcity of Yeti sightings is over and the next day Yeti tickets go on sale.
The joy sparks from you. You are literally jumping up and down.
You have tickets to meet two yetis for 2 hours! It's the starter package. Yeti are still really big, and although they are vegetarian, and harmless, well, we just want everyone to be safe.
The truth is, you've been standing in line forever. You don't care what the rules are - whatever they are - you will follow them. Stay far away from the Yeti. Don't chew gum. The list goes on and on. All of them are fine with you.
You've been studying the Yeti for as long as you can remember. "Sasquatch", "Skunk Ape", "Yeti", the "Abominable Snowman" so many different names from so many places all over the world. Different words in every culture, but they have the same special place in your heart. A single tear runs down your cheek.
You pay for the starter pack and it is great. You and Yeti play hide and seek, which they are very good at. You talk, go for walks, bounce on the trampoline. They like to go to parks and startle the dogs. It's great. You think they are happy, too. They sure seem happy, their laugh travels for miles .Also they never ... pull your arms off, for example.
One day, you and Carlos are sitting on the patio of your favorite tea shop, having a chai and up rocks one of Runal's friends. His name is Anthony and nobody likes this guy. Well, except Ruanl. That is because Runal was in a really tight spot once, he won't give details, and Anthony somehow saved the day. Bear in mind, Runal sits behind a desk with a stamp - so by the time people get to see him they are usually tired and cranky. He is nice, but Runal is not the best judge of character. Anthony was never cranky so he had that going for him and that was all it took with Runal.
He walks up and stands over you blocking out the sunshine. You look at Carlos who smiles and winks. Carlos is entertained by the fact that you can't stand Anthony. Anthony is one of those guys who just makes up stories. He tells lies for fun, not because he has to. You don't respect that. You think the truth is important and sometimes when he is telling you these elaborate stories you have to stop him. "Ant, let's start over, without the fake stuff."
But he is hovering over you. You are trying to be a good sport and air out you feet. But you don't think they stink, you are doing it because you like Carlos. He has grown on you. You just try to avoid meeting with him, or if you have to have one, you set a time limit.
Anthony starts talking. Your feet start getting cold. Your chai is getting cold - You lean back and start thinking of what you saw in the newspaper that morning. An elephant had knocked down a fence in the foothills of the Himalayas, nobody was hurt, but it sounded scary. You would have done anything to block out the screech of his voice - a voice that was packed to the rafters with lies. It's really high pitched and whiny. You are SURE that he has redeeming qualities. But you can't get through the the crust to appreciate the nougat inside him. A Yeti could.
But amidst the torture of his voice, You do hear one thing he said "Yeti Weekend" - boom! You are in! Back in reality, you listen to his words -so this means you can spend more time with the Yeti? Of course. That makes sense. All of this makes sense. Sometimes miracles happen and the least trustworthy person you know has exactly what you want! What could go wrong? You will do whatever he wants. "go to Pokhara and get my sisters cat, it has diarrhea" and vroooooooom without a single word you are off on a motorcycle to get a sick cat.
But the day before the ramp-up for my Yeti Pass starts, right before you sign and you are basically an honorary member of the Yeti. Anthony pulls the rug out from under you.
He walks up with a dirty toothpick hanging out of the side of his mouth and says, "This breaks my heart bro, I hate to tel you this - " He pauses. Your stomach drops, the way it does when you get bad news. You can't believe you trusted this clown.
He puts his fingers on the either side of the bridge of his nose. Is he laughing or crying? What is going on here?
Anthony continues, "Somebody, it might have been Pilar, well it was at the library, and she heard something disturbing about you. The Yeti Pass is not going to happen."
All of sudden You feel like you are melting. Is Pilar the girl with that that looks like she has a tiny wooden chair in her hair? You can hear motorbikes, kids laughing, the world feels wobbly - did you get sick from that cat?
"Oh no," you think, "he lied to me. Tricked me," and you groan, "I drove to get a cat for this guy. He has probably been meaning to do this the entire time. He just wanted someone to get his cat."
Being tricked like this hurts so much. The same way you tried to trick Carlos - if you remember back to the very beginning of this story. But different, that was more of a practical joke, this has been going on for months.
You feel my eyes filling with tears.
"Ant, Who is talking about me like this?"
Anthony looks at his shoes then at the blue sky and then pulls out his phone. You think: "Is he going to show me a photo of the person? No he is playing Animal Crossing."
You want to grab the phone from him, but you don't. You have manners and you can imagine how scared he must feel right now. You don't get between a Yeti and its human.
"Anthony, what did this person say?"
Anthony starts shuffling his feet. He slowly starts to mooonwalk away from the conversation.
"Are you serious, you aren't going to tell me? You are just moonwalking away. I can still see you waking, it is just dustier now."
You feel cheated. You've been lied to. You can't follow him to ask him question - it is the smell mostly, he smells terribly. So you sit down on the ground. Time becomes a blur. You notice things: people walking cars, horns beeping. You think you have a fever. Ugh.
You feel terrible.
You lose your eyes and when you open them, Anthony is back. "Anthony, don't do this. I know that I didn't do anything. I would do anything for my time with those Yeti. We had made plans for the weekends. We had a list! They didn't do anything either. Don't you at least care about the Yeti?"
Anthony laughed. "Don't make me LOL, we all care about the Yeti! Oh yes we do!" You feel like you aren't not getting the joke. That was weird.
I tried one last time. "Anthony, please don't take them away from me - I don't know who I upset, - but I didn't do anything. All week long I wait for the moment when I can chill with the Yeti, I'm learning Nepalese, I've started making jewelry out of used tea bags, I kick it with Carlos - we are thinking of starting a band."
He just raises his eyebrows and fakes surprise.
Yeah, so, here's another thing. You can see them for four hours instead of two while the Yeti Company investigates you.
"There is a Yeti company?"
"Yeah, it's small, but growing".
You am never surprised anymore when you hear about the amazing thing the Yeti can do. It's because You know that they can do anything. You believe in them. But you'll think about that later - "Why am I under investigation?"
"I can't answer that."
"You can't because you don't know or you can't because you aren't allowed to tell me?"
"I can't answer that, either."
"So you may, or may not have, heard something or nothing, and you are canceling my Yeti Pass."
"Dude, I'm just saying your pass is cancelled. That's all I'm giving you. "
"Anthony," You swallow, your mouth is dry. "Did this actually happen or did you just make this up?"
"What do you mean?", Anthony is trying to look angelic. But he can't fake it. He just looks like a bad liar.
I understand that I'm not gong to get any more answers from Anthony.
Anthony shrugs, his cheap jean jacket riding up his frail shoulders.
"I need an answer. Do you want the four hours? Or you can have 2 hours, or nothing, or you can petition the heads of Yeti Company. You can get you on their calendar in the next week," Anthony hooks his thumbs in his belt.
"How do I defend myself if I don't know what what they said, or if they even exist?", you say. Your head hurts, your heart hurts. Why did you believe this dude?
Anthony, takes a cigarette out of his pocket. Of course he smokes! How can this get any worse?
"So friend," he says, smoke pouring out of his tiny head. "I'm going to treat that last question like it was rhetorical, partly because I like your style and partly because I just like being difficult by not answering questions. Could I answer you? Maybe. Could I give you time to think it over? I could, but I won't. There is a new film at the cinema I want to give my undivided attention. " Anthony puts his hand by his mouth and whispers conspiratorially, "The thing is, I've been watching you, and I like it when you make imporant decisions when you are really sad.. there is so much drama, it is better than the cinema. So I need an answer right now."
Ok brain, think! And your brain, reluctantly, starts to think:
"If I give in to this guy, and say '4 hours is ok. It's not my full Yeti Pass but I do love those Yeti, and I will do anything for them. I'll take what I can get." That would feel good, but it is also giving a reward to the person who made up lies about me. You don't want to reward or encourage that. It could have been Anthony. He could make up stories about people to grab their pass - he doesn't even need to pay for it, he makes money on every transaction - he has worked out a system with Runal where he can walk you to the front of the line at the Runal's office for a few thousand rupee - then Runal charges a fee for the pass transfer + the stamp + service fee + value added tax (VAT) + do not pass go + transfer to the other person.
If you give up Yeti time because someone made up a lie about me, then You will never be free. Because the person who did this, whoever wanted my Yeti Pass, they can do it again.
But if don't give up the time ...
Anthony blows smoke in your face, "Times up bro."