Almost at Everest

This tale is about the time I almost saw Mount Everest…yes, that’s right…almost saw. It isn’t a story of how I felt when I finally laid eyes on the huge natural behemoth – instead it’s the story of how I tried and failed.

I should point out that I didn’t ever plan on climbing it – I am not a fool, although I may look, and act like one; I know my strengths as well as my weaknesses – and putting one frostbitten limb in front of another as I take desperate drags from an oxygen tank is not my idea of fun, and most certainly isn’t a field in which I would excel…in fact I would probably have so much to complain about up there I would talk myself into an early grave. Because of this I had arranged to take the Mountain Flight from Kathmandu airport up to Everest to catch a glimpse (without all of that walking and heavy breathing)…don’t judge, come on, I had one day left in Nepal and I wanted to use it wisely!

After all, I bet an actual climb up Mount Everest entails a whole lot of inhumane practices – such as surviving on a diet of weird toothpaste meat energy capsules as there is no space to cook…if that is true, which I have promised myself it is – I can’t do that, I need my food. So, it was the only option to be a lazy piece of work and fly up there. I’ll climb next time…maybe…probably…errr…LOOK RON WEASELY EATING A SAUSAGE!

Eating Heavy GIF

Phew!

So I had booked the short tour flight just the night before, despite still being horribly sick (heavy duty industrial strength diahorrea) – it’s unfortunate of course, but it is for that reason that I will probably never return to Nepal…you know for fear of all of my insides falling out of my anus in a burning rush of searing pain…no big deal or anything. It was with this self-instilled no return policy, that I decided whilst I remained in the country I should do everything I can (to get my life’s fill of it all)!

So I popped a bunch of pills, drank some water, wore two pairs of underpants, and hopped uneasily into a taxi to begin the trail to the largest mountain in the world.

Obviously the taxi driver took the bumpiest fucking route known to man, so I was forced to clench harder than a crab claw’s vice grip – there were a lot of touch and go moments, but I held on, justI mean I had to! I am sure we all agree that shitting myself whilst looking at Mount Everest, may have taken some of the fun out of the experience! Anyway, after some jumbled directions about which muddy path I should follow, I trampled down what appeared to be a flooded building site until I found some automatic doors that had been jammed open with chunks of cardboard – I sighed my deepest sigh, trying to put it to the back of my mind…these guys can’t even grasp the intricate mechanics of the door mechanism but I am trusting them to throw me up into the sky in a tin can…smart John, very smart.

It’ll be fine, you won’t die…it’ll be fine. No one dies. It’ll be fine. 

After being vigorously molested by security, I spotted the desk in the distance and slowly waddled my way up to it, occasionally flinching due to what can only be described as adult nappy rash: if for some reason that sounds fun in any way then know that it is not…I don’t want to give too much horrifying detail, but to say that it felt like someone sandpapering your butt-hole, would be an outrageous understatement. It is more like someone…I’ll stop.

Despite the mess that was going on in my lower section, the lady at the desk still smiled cordially, she didn’t judge my diseased penguin walk, she didn’t mind the vague smell of sewage that probably clung to me…good for her…I couldn’t have did it. As I beamed back at her, I began to reach for my passport as I –

“YEAH, WHEN DO I GO ON THE PLANE?!” a strange sweaty man burst from nowhere to shove me aside, and instantly shared a “what the fuck?!” look with the lady, who appeared just as bewildered as myself!

Disgrace look GIF

The guy didn’t look at me once, I assumed out of sheer shame – I mean, know that if I was going on like an absolute prick I wouldn’t be mad keen on giving my victims eye contact, no, no – just do the crime and ignore those affected by it, that’s the code. I didn’t let this little incident get me down though and took perverse joy in listening in to the (pretty one sided) conversation…he kept demanding strange things, asking odd questions and becoming angry when the answers were not to his liking…to the point the lady looked altogether freaked out -he kept wagging his chubby finger and saying “YOU DO YOUR JOB – DO YOUR JOB WELL.” I mean who gets hot flaming mad about there  being no complimentary peanuts on the flight?! Who gets a little rage on because there aren’t two cushions on the seat?!

Well the answer to both of those questions is that guy. I thought I was having a shitty day, but I would take toilet woes to dealing with him any day of the week! The lady had to maintain the classic professional smile throughout the whole torment, I was half expecting her cheeks to spasm due to over use and peel off. She held on. 

When we got through to the main waiting gate area (it was all one large room) I made a sprint for the toilets for reasons which should be obvious by now. I was not disappointed, the smell was just as rank as I had come to expect, there were rusty brown splodges that were presumably a homage to the thousands of people who had entered and pissed on the floor rather than use the disease ridden cubicle. Bizarrely there was a mop in the corner of the room…which was weird…I thought that must be some kind of joke by the staff, like a funny thing which further exemplifies just how unnecessarily putrid the place is. But anyway, joke or not – I had assessed long ago that this wasn’t a place anyone could use for toilet time, so I washed my hands (probably making them even more dirty than before by turning the tap OFF) and then headed back to the main big room. The angry man was shuffling about, still irate, barking at people as he went on his way…I sat down in a far corner well out of his path…ah..no…he then performed an unexpected U-turn and…oh…oh, my…he was heading straight towards me…I tried to look a little bit strange, unhinged even – like the kind of guy you would just think hmmm, not sitting next to him…he may try to sell me cheese he keeps in his pockets, or ask if he can lick my gloves or…it’s not working, he is still coming – do something weird, why is it not working?!

“PLEASE DON’T SIT DOWN HERE – PLEASE DON’T SIT DOWN HERE – PLEASE DON’T SIT DOWN HERE!”

Dont SIt GIF

Naturally he sat down right next to me despite there being ample space literally everywhere else – I felt the violent surges of red creep up my neck, past my cheeks and up to my ears…the anticipation of being put on the spot and screamed at about the lack of peanuts, or whatever other mad crusade he would crazily ramble on about this time. I sat there tensely, wishing I had put the second earphone in when I had the chance…now if I put the other in it would be too obvious a don’t fucking talk to me kinda tactic…which is just not socially allowed for some reason, so yeah – just had to sit there staring at my hands, hoping maybe they may fall off…so that I could have a decent enough excuse to return to the bathroom…but they didn’t, they just stayed there, shaking a little…I looked off into the distance, itching my neck over and over…I started to tell myself that maybe he would just leave…maybe he wouldn’t want to shout at me…maybe he –

“WHERE ARRR YOU FRUM?”

Argh, fuck. I turned slowly to face him – as much as I would have loved to ignore him, or just get up and shoot myself in the head,  for better or for worse – that isn’t me. Strangely, we ended up speaking for some time, at first I gave him limited responses, as it was the usual who, what, where kind of interview, it also irritated me that he kept referring to Korea as Japan…so much so that eventually I just shrugged and started doing it myself. Yeah, yeah – Korea do great sushi, don’t like Tokyo though, far too crowded…mhmm me too…

He asked me what I enjoyed doing, what my passion was – he assured me that you have to have passion in life or you may as well be dead. I said I loved to write funny stories, and make people laugh if I could – naturally, he immediately asked me to tell a joke, which is always horrible – I don’t really do one liners…but he wouldn’t take no for an answer, he just looked at me with these expectant eager eyes until I finally caved…what happens when you drink food colouring? You dye a little inside! It was a little bit like Slumdog Millionaire, as a random memory of a Penguin chocolate bar gag slipped from my memory vault, perfect for this occasion. There was an awkward pause…I was about to apologise for inflicting such a bad piece of cheap humour on him, but he then started raucously laughing, and slapping his thighs – “GOOD ONE! DYE LIKE DIE…DYE IS…AHHH!” 

Funny Laughing GIF

He was impressed that I had thought it up by myself…so was I. There was an announcement that the flight would be delayed, they needed to wait for a weather safety report. But we didn’t particularly care, we carried on chatting about this, and that. He asked me about my family, friends…you know, the usual introduction stuff – when I reciprocated he began telling me an unexpected tale of woe that really gripped me, and has been on my mind ever since…

He was originally from Syria, and had once been married…with one son. He was so proud of him, that much was obvious – he told me he had studied day and night without any pushing, easily passing all of his exams and becoming a doctor – which was the only path he was ever destined to be…he wanted to help people, and had been the same way even as a young boy, always fixing up animals and doing things for his Mother. He then spoke fondly of his wife…the most beautiful woman you will ever see, clever and witty – someone he could talk to deep into the night, never to tire of the conversation…it was the perfect life he said. Was. 

That’s when he told me…his son had been on a bus, on his way to start his first job since graduating, when a bomb blew up, causing the vehicle to fly off the road, and kill every person unfortunate enough to be inside. His wife, once the happiest lady you would ever meet, instantly stopped working and would lock herself in the bathroom every day…after a few agonizing weeks she was found dead, she had shot herself in the head – so as not to deal with the worst possible heartache imaginable. He gestured the gun shot to the head, and began to form tears in the wrinkled cracks of his eyelids.

But he didn’t want my sorrys…he didn’t want my sympathy – instead he made me promise I would live out everyday in as full a way as I could, he held on to my hand and squeezed tight – after all, he said – that is what he is doing. I wondered what he meant, and it was then that he revealed a tattered map, once owned by his son, and told me that he is visiting all of the places he once heard him speak of, all of the places he had promised his Father he would see one day.

Everest had been on the top of the list.

There was an announcement that the flight would be cancelled, and a full refund would be available. You’d think I would be disappointed, as unlike my new friend – I didn’t have the option to try again tomorrow – as I would be returning home the next day. It seems like I had just wasted three hours of my life in an airport for seemingly no reason whatsoever…but the truth is I had learned a lot from this strange rude man, that had barged into me just earlier that day…at the risk of sounding cheesy let me just say this – I walked out with a different appreciation for what life is that day, it’s a flickering flame that can go out at any moment. So you have to make the most of it.

Go on…

www.facebook.com/storytimewithjohn

www.youtube.com/storytimewithjohn101

Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!

Advertisements

72 thoughts on “Almost at Everest

  1. Oh my golly I laughed so much all the way through until the tear last touching moments. Truly great story you should put all these stories together and publish them. You really do have a talent to make people laugh. I loved the gif files too, awesome work

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Everyone has a story to tell…even if they are rude human-beings. That’s amazing that you got to share that moment with him. I think that sounds like a better experience than actually seeing Mount Everest!
    And I’m sure you still have time in your life to go back (just to see Mount Everest, not to experience the other…stuff)

    Like

    • Exactly Julia, it’s so easy to think of people as one dimensional cartoonish characters…angry guy…stupid guy…etc, etc! But the truth is everyone has a story to tell, if only you take the time to listen!

      I’ll be back one day…maybe 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Was not expecting that at all. I think it shows real skill when you can entertain people and then slip in some kind of moral to the story. Stories like these have the most impact because the audience wasn’t expecting it. Thank you for sharing, will keep this in mind the next time someone is unnecessarily rude to me.

    Like

  4. FIRST OF ALL; I want a sausage.
    SECOND OF ALL; It sucks that you didn’t fly a plane and I wanna fly on one now.
    (I won’t want my refund given to me nicely, there might be a few gibberish words spoken)
    THIRD OF ALL; PEOPLE WHO BASH INTO ME BECOME MORE CRAZIER THAN SPEAKING TO ME
    Fourth of all; You have to get to know someone who is mean to find out why they really are mean.
    FIFTH OF ALL; I WANT A SAUSAGE.

    Like

  5. I’m trying so hard not to cry right now, thank you for that story! It’s easy to get caught up in the frustrating little details of life and so often it’s easy to forget just how lucky we are. Thanks again for writing this!

    Like

  6. Wow what a roller coaster of a read, first I thought geez why am I reading this after I just ate and then the ending distracted me enough from feeling sick. Amazing ending – and at a very interesting place.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This has to be one of the best stories yet. I don’t like the sappy stuff, but this was done so well, it didn’t seem all that sappy, just profound. It is very interesting sometimes how we meet people out of no where, and they impact out lives for better or worse. Thanks for sharing this wonderful meeting of worlds.

    Like

    • Thank you, Rene! My first draft was a little too sappy…I am not much for that either, I went back in and removed it, as it provided the right kind of message – but didn’t feel honest! After all, the guy didn’t want people to feel sadness, only happiness in being alive! Urgh…I am getting sappy again, what is happening to me?!?!

      haha, anyway – I am happy you took something from this story, means a lot to me as you know.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Seriously I love the way you write the post, it is totally about your experiences and somewhere this post has a ‘Great Message’.Kudos to your writing skill. Keep up the good work. – Sagarika

    Like

  9. If you’d been watching my face while I was reading this you would’ve been wondering what the Hell kind of story it was… *ewwww followed by *eyeroll followed by *ohnowhatshegonnadonow? And ending with full on blubbering.
    So many lessons in there, not least of which is even our bad experiences can result in something positive, if we’re just open to see it. I’m so glad you did talk to him, and I’m glad he chose you to sit next to because now we’ve gotten the reminder too.

    Like

    • hahaha, just a total roller-coaster of facial expressions! I’m pleased you enjoyed it, it has been sitting in “drafts” for the longest time…it was the last bit I was struggling with, kept going back to it – and then giving up, hard to put across another person’s story, without knowing too much about him. Usually it’s just me, myself and I, and my feelings are my own…but this time the story was really all about him, and the perspective HE had to offer.

      Like

  10. What a beautiful, funny, sad story. You really ran the gamut of emotions. Best of all, you reminded me that we all have a story to tell and we all are battling something. I need to be more patient and caring with others for sure. Thank you, John.

    Like

    • It’s a lesson we can all learn of course Linda, something I forget A LOT – I suppose you never know what kind of day someone is having, or what has happened in their lives. It’s hard not to judge! But maybe this brings it into context.

      Thank you so much for reading, and stopping by to comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Dude, although this story turns out a bit sad, it’s really such an inspiration. You really never know why people are the way they are. There really seems to be a reason for everything, there’s a reason he sat by you, he ended up teaching lessons to many through your work on this blog. Awesome awesome post. Thanks so much for doing what you do.

    Like

    • Thank you my friend! I was hoping it wouldn’t be too sad for people reading, as it wasn’t his intention to make people feel sorry for him! Tried to reflect that, but it is difficult (such a saddening situation 😦 )

      Can’t thank you enough for stopping by and leaving these encouraging words, means a lot to me 🙂

      Like

  12. Great story and story telling, you flipped us emotionally from the trivial and annoying to something with real meaning!! I appreciated the humor levels and also the poignancy of the man’s story while leaves you thinking about life in a positive way. Thanks for stopping by my site and letting me know you with your stories.

    Like

    • Many thanks to you Judy! I thought I had followed you when I was on your site – apparently not, but have rectified that now! Hope to hear more from you!

      Really happy you enjoyed the story, and the man’s message 🙂

      Like

  13. I’ve been reminded more than once this past weekend that when we want to make a snap judgement about someone we need to pause for a minute; we really don’t know what’s going on in another person’s life. Thanks for the reminder and your story. Hope he got to see Mt Everest in honor of his son.

    Like

    • You’re right, definitely! I know that we all have bad days, and we all have our crosses to hold so to speak ~ if only you stop to listen to what people have to say! It’s an important message I feel. I’d like to think the winds were right the next day and he got there in the end 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I often tell my husband that as he slips into road rage. That guy that cut you off may be a selfish bastard or he may be distracted because his kid is sick. That lady that is driving to slow may be a crappy driver or she may be a single mom trying to keep food on her table and can’t afford to replace her bald tires with new winter ones. Yes some people are jerks but some are just trying to survive a hard time. When we judge without knowing we are guilty of being selfish.

    Like

  15. Oh MMyyyy!!! Now my mind has been scattered to all distant places!!!
    What I like about your writing is that it’s filled with honesty. You write the way you are (you use your own voice and never rely on sounding appropriate/acceptable) and we hang onto this crazy ride and at the end, it’s all actually thought-provoking and surprisingly inspiring.

    Also, “Almost at Everest” is one perfect title!
    It’s nice to see that it begins with you not really wanting to climb the Everest and then, the story shifts to the man who wants to climb it in memory of his son.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow, that ending really took me by surprise! It is so true that you really can’t judge somebody until you get to know them. You may think that you have somebody all figured out just by looking at them. but underneath that first impression there are so many different layers and stories. Your story really captures this perfectly. It reminds me of a quote from some famous Greek philosopher (which one I’m not entirely sure!) which basically said that you should be kind to everyone you meet because everybody is fighting some form of battle. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story 🙂 (And I’m sorry to hear about the ‘heavy duty industrial strength diarrhoea’ you had to endure. Any diarrhoea that is both heavy duty AND industrial strength isn’t anything that any human should be subjected to!)
    Also, before I go, I have recently done the ‘allergic to the e’ writing challenge and thought that it would be funny to see your take on it. You have to write a paragraph without using the letter ‘e’, which is pretty darn difficult! All of the details are over this way if you are interested 🙂 https://ladybugsandpugs.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/allergic-to-the-e-challenge/
    Thanks and I hope you have an amazing day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh my, I loved the story! It just shows how much we shouldn’t immediately judge and make the worst assumptions of people from the start.
    Love your posts, they really draw me in because your style of writing is so personal, funny and relatable! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Blast it all, Storytime With John! You had me laughing – almost snort laughing!! – at your adventures, and then the Syrian man’s sad, sad story. Where’s the blasted tissue!

    Well done. And I hope that poor man finds good things ahead in life.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s