Normal

Elizabeth Schubert - India


February 12, 2016

Sitting in the rickshaw, I put my elbow on the back of the seat – WOAH, pull back.  My elbow’s wet.  I turn to look and see a bottle of – something – wrapped in burlap.  I don’t feel disgusted or startled or scared.  I just chuckle a little and turn back around.

On my way to school, I see two goats on the side of the road making babies.  I don’t even think twice until I childhood friend later asked me if I had seen anything crazy that day.  Oh ya, that was supposed to be crazy.

Crossing the street and a bike honks and swerves around me, missing my toes by inches.  My breath doesn’t catch and my heart beats as usual.

“Do you want to come out to breakfast with us? Hurry because we’re leaving right now.” I throw on jeans and a kurta, brush my teeth, and grab my bag, only to find that no one is ready.  For the next twenty minutes I sit and read, feeling neither surprised nor disappointed.

I took a video of my ride to school, not because I thought it was interesting, but because I couldn’t remember if it was supposed to be.

What is normal has completely flipped.  My idea of how things are no longer has one answer.  I sometimes get so confused about which side of the road cars drive on in which country.  And I don’t remember how I used to talk.  In fact, I don’t remember how I used to do much of anything.  This can boggle my brain to near madness.

So I just focus on my current reality.  In my new normal, there are drunk rickshaw drivers, predictably unpredictable plans, goat coitus, near death crossing the street, and so many other things that I can’t think of because it’s just the way things are.

It’s amazing what a person can get used to.  It’s amazing what I have begun to laugh at, appreciate, and even love.

Elizabeth Schubert