A confession: While I keep a blog going (albeit poorly) I don’t read that many blogs. I just don’t have the time, and very few blogs grab my interest long enough for me to make time in my day to spend reading other people’s accounts of what is happening with their lives. One of the few blogs I do try to read once in a great while is Wes Nations at JohnnyVagabond.com He takes sharp photos and knows how to tell a story without boring me.
This is high praise, I promise. I have the attention span of a pigeon.
Coming back from lunch today, we ran into a man with a small box and cotton behind his ears. The box read EAR CLEANER and he offered to clean our ears out. I remembered reading about something like this from Wes, and knew I had to do it. I knew I couldn’t blog about it – that any account I might have of the experience had already been done better than I could do. Still, Wes had made it sound… if not fun, than at least worthwhile. We agreed to 50 rupees (about $1 US) for the cleaning.
The experience was about what I remember reading from Wes, the guy kept saying “oh my god” and pulling out disgusting things from my ear-hole, then hard selling me on how I need “medicine” to get out a very big, dry piece that is too lodged in to be removed by normal means. I expected this, and agreed to pay 150 rupee total (a little more than $3US) for the medicine and the cleaning. He went to town once more and extracted more disgusting things from my ear.
Then he got me good when he moved to the other ear. He made the same pitch for “medicine” with the next ear, and said it would be more money for the second ear.
Now, I could have taken a stand, gone about my business after the cleaning and not gone for the extra for more “medicine”, but part of me wanted to see it through, and more importantly to me, I felt this was my “idiot tax” for not making it clear when we first negotiated that the service was all inclusive, rather than per-ear. Additionally, there is the added stress of negotiating with a man who is using very sharp objects near your body cavities.
Well played, Ear Cleaner. Well played.
The total came to 220 rupee, nearly $5 US, for an experience I would have with me forever, something I could tell at a party instead of talking about the time I jumped off of a bridge to get away from angry dogs with giant orange bows on their backs.
I am so effing sick of that story. So is my wife. You can ask her.
I went back to the room, eager to compare my experience with Wes’ story. I should have paid better attention when reading that post the first time.
IT WAS THE SAME DAMN GUY. No, really. From Wes’ blog:
So there it is. I am a copycat. The world is small, and there is one Ear Cleaner in Rishikesh and HE IS EVERYWHERE. I hadn’t recalled Wes’ story was also from Rishikesh, and had I remembered what he ended up paying for his service, I probably wouldn’t be crying as I type this.
100 rupees total, both ears. With “medicine”.
Ah well. Like I said before, lesson learned. In deference to a superior storyteller who got to this very accomplished ear cleaner first, I am making every image in this post link to his site. Go read some of his stories and enjoy them.
I will be waiting here for your “thank you Drew”s.