My boss and I were having a conversation on Friday about how ‘dangerous’ Australia is. Not in regards to how it has more than its fair share of deadliest creatures on the planet including spiders, snakes and sharks, but how life is so quiet and uneventful that you’re in constant danger of being lulled into a coma.
At first I thought it may just be Perth and the fact that it’s one of the most isolated capital cities in the world requiring a journey of 2500km (1500 miles) to get to the next closest capital and therefore new and exciting things are few and far between (we’re still waiting for the arrival of Starbucks and Krispy Kreme by the way….) But after living in two other places in the middle and on the east side of Australia, I can declare that it’s pretty much got the same coma-inducing quietness no matter where you go.
I suppose it’s all well and dandy if you want to live your life in a bubble of stability where the most exciting thing to happen is the shops being open on a Sunday once in a blue moon. And I realise that it’s very crap of me to be flippant about peace and stability when that is a luxury in so many other places on the planet, but sometimes things are just so quiet and same-old, same-old that it makes me want to tear my hair out in frustration.
I miss the rush of new experiences, new foods, new thrills – you know, something that makes you feel alive.
I guess that’s why when you go to Bali, there are more Australians than Balinese. I have a feeling that all the Aussies are there to ‘feel’ something – like the thrill of having a steak in a restaurant that doesn’t cost $50 or seeing countryside that is green instead of the regulation Australian brown. On the other hand I find it amusing that many Australians wouldn’t go any further into the ‘unknown’ than Bali. In Bali you’re almost guaranteed to run into someone that you know and you’re never further away from the ‘homeland’ than 2-3 hours, so it’s still within the comfort zone.
At our luncheon on Australia Day (Jan 26th) five out of the ten people there had recently been to Bali and the topic of conversation turned to ‘funky food’. I’m not talking about eyeballs or intestines or anything, I’m talking jelly fish that had been dried, reconstituted and then added to a stir fry. I draw the line at eating still-beating hearts of cobra snakes and drinking turtle blood soup and truly funky stuff like that, but jelly fish? That doesn’t even make my funky food list.
Apparently jelly fish was just way too funky for some people and they declared that they wouldn’t even try it. I then brought out my packet of dried squid (that admittedly does smell like a girlie with a bad yeast infection) and there was some heaving going on around the table and questions of “How can you eat that crap?” I’m always a big fan of don’t knock it until you’ve tried it and that for some foods, because our palettes aren’t used to them, they are acquired tastes, so I find it really sad that people aren’t open to even the possiblity of something new.
I see this same closed-mindedness everywhere, not just with food. Just because someone does something a bit differently they’re either ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’. For example, start a thread about breath-play in any forum and I can guarantee that within minutes someone will be chanting the “SSC’ litany and how wrong and stupid it is. As long as you’re smart and safe about it, it can be a wonderful thrill and a stimulating experience.
I wonder if the ones floating around in the comfort bubbles find anything different uncomfortable because it’s a stabbing reminder of just how close they are to lapsing into a coma.