To begin the New Year off right, let’s begin with today’s word for the day— “KARMA.” The short, secular definition is: “cause and effect.” You do something bad, you get ‘bad’ payback. You do something good, you get ‘good’ payback.
I may have gone a tad guantanamo with my persuasion techniques trying to convince the tiniest-sized ants (out of the seven varieties sharing my house) not to use my kitchen counter as their personal highway to some perceived gastronomic nirvana of theirs. I don’t like killing things, but how do you train a jungle-wild swarm of ants that ‘this is the danger zone and do not walk here’…unless you lay down a bit of collateral damage is all I’m saying, god.
So yesterday, I’m riding my motorbike trying to find the road that lies on the far side of the valley, and to find the houses I see from my place that sit atop the opposite rim of this ravine. Though I’ve been to Bali several times, I’ve never seen that area before, never been there, and Ubud locals can’t tell me how to get there. Long story short: I find it, photograph Setia Bungalow—the house I’m renting—from the far side, and ride a bit further down this unknown path, leading into rice fields. Many “roads” here that go into rice fields are merely dirt walking paths, centuries old. The path I’m on is a freeway by comparison, it is made of cement, wide enough for one or, sometimes, two motorbikes. This path has rice paddies on either side, it was previously narrower, and dirt. So…there is the path, and then it drops off abruptly, vertically, on either side right into rice paddy. Fairly precarious, but at least it’s better than a dirt path.
As I round a bend in the field, I feel a nasty sting on my calf. An ant—we’ll call him Arnie, after Arnold Schwarzenegger, because he has definitely found a stash of steroids somewhere in his meanderings—is chowing down on me. Arnie is so big, I can see his eye looking at me as I lean down to brush him off. I turn back, grab the handlebar. But my front wheel is mid-air in slow motion sailing right off the narrow path and cruising straight into the rice paddy. Woosh, thump, splat….Karma.
There was not enough time to feel fear, or to think of much more than one four-letter word, maybe twice. The bike is sitting exhaust-pipe deep in mucky mud. The field is being prepped for planting—no rice, thankfully, destroyed. But it stinks in there. And when I say “stink,” I mean in the most awesomely-horrible-fertilizer way you can imagine. Not that long ago, the Balinese used human dung to fertilize their fields. Supposedly, they no longer do. But if you’re sitting in one, you might pause to ponder the possibilities.
The mud is so thick, it holds the motorbike upright. The bike is sitting in the muck, I’m sitting on the bike, the motor is still running. When I stick my feet in the muck to climb off, I’m knee deep in the stuff. I lose both thongs with sucking, squishy noises. And they weren’t the dollar-a-pair thongs, they were pricey Crocs thongs.
I try to drive the bike out, but the back wheel spins like it is sitting in a big pile of manure, which it quite literally is. Imagine, if you want, a string of words I might have spoken at a time like this. Imagine me wondering jwtf was going to happen next, there’s no AAA tow trucks here. Long story short: a good-Samaritan Swedish guy of Vietnamese ancestry and stature (an interesting story for another time) grabs the handlebar end, I take the tail end, and we lift that machine straight up out of there. A much easier save than you could ever imagine.
I would never have guessed that two small men could pull that bike out of there. Even a small-engined motorbike is not a lightweight piece of machinery, it’s difficult to move on dry land (try lifting one end of a 125cc motorbike sometime) when there’s no muck sucking it down. Some angel—Brandy Moore!—offered a helping hand, again, is all I can come up with. My sister used to say I could “fall into a pile of shit and come up smelling like a rose.” She was wrong. But at least we’re starting the year off with miracles.
As my “Adding something new” to this post, I’m adding this video of Mt. Agung
That was a mistake. That is not the video. And I did not load this photo. Techno-genies at work in my day. Or…more karma?
Well, I don’t think that worked. I uploaded the video. It does not appear here, but there is some words indicating something about a video. Is it a video, can you see it? Help!