Travel Betty

Encouraging Fearless Independent Travel For Women

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An Open Letter To Author Benjamin Weissman

February 20th, 2008 · 8 Comments

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Written November 6, 2008:

Legian Beach Bali

Not 20 minutes ago, I was sitting at the Seaside Restaurant on Legian beach in Bali, Indonesia. I’ve been bringing your book, Headless, with me to meals because I’m currently traveling alone. I got married here last week, but that’s another story.

Anyway, I start reading “Marnie” and get to the part where you describe her ski crash and my ears instantly stuff up and sweat does not just bead up on my face, it oozes out of pores like at a Play-Do Fun Factory. My heart starts racing and everything starts to go black. I swear I’m going to pass out and I haven’t even gotten to the part where you find her wrapped around the tree yet. I’m a 20-hour plane away from everyone I know and love in San Francisco and I can’t believe your story just plunged me into a full-scale panic attack. I haven’t had one in a year. And trust me, I’ve done a lot of damn work to make it that way.

It’s a beautiful sunny day. People are surfing. My waiter is sitting off to my right smiling contently in my general direction. I don’t know how I’m going to get back to my villa without passing out or drawing a crowd. Finally the word bathroom flashes before me. I clasp my cold drink for a few seconds and put the makeshift compress that is my hand to my head. A few deep breaths and I’m up. I almost walk off of a 3-foot drop in my hurried quest to find an unoccupied stall.

Once inside, I hike up my skirt and take a shit reminiscent of the one you describe in “The Fecality of it All.” I spot a sign that says “Do not flush ‘Softex’ down toilet. Please place in sanitary bag and dispose in the trash.” I think fuck, this toilet isn’t burly enough to handle toilet paper and now I’m trying to flush a two-foot turd? At this point, I wonder if you’re some kind of psychic and your book isn’t somehow predicting my future. The thought of your prescience during this intimate moment creeps me out.

Like you, I’ve got no choice but to flush. I do put the ‘Softex’ in the trash though. For whatever difference that makes. Then I wash my hands, take a deep breath and hightail it out of there.

On my way home, I think about the Passion Fruit granita I left behind at the restaurant. It had an entire scoop of real passion fruit at the bottom. The Seaside even gives you a little spoon so you can scoop the seeds out when you’re finished sucking up the sweet ice. This is really the only part I’m pissed about. Well, that and knowing that I’m going to force myself to read the rest of your damn story even though I know it’s going to make me sick.

So, anyway, thanks for the book. I quite like it.

Tags: Bali · Books

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  • 8 responses so far ↓

    • 1 ski travel insurance // Feb 26, 2008 at 7:43 am

      :) it must be really ‘an impressive’ book and/or it directly responded to your personal experience…

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    • 2 Debo Hobo // Feb 29, 2008 at 7:06 am

      I just ordered this book on the basis of your open letter. I can hardly wait to get it and read it.

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    • 3 Travel Betty // Feb 29, 2008 at 8:44 am

      Hi Ski Travel, actually never had any serious ski injuries, although I did dislocate my shoulder trying to learn to snowboard!

      That’s great, Debo! I hope you find it as engaging as I did. It’s quite different from an Oprah book club selection, that’s for sure :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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    • 4 thailand adviser // Mar 1, 2008 at 8:18 am

      Well, How is Bali anyway. Hope to be there as well,

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    • 5 Debo Hobo // Mar 13, 2008 at 6:31 am

      Oh My! I got the book in the mail the other day as I bought it from the link on your site. I sat in the car before going into the house to read just a couple of pages. Well you know the first story about Hitler? It is funny, disturbing and definitely edgy. This author is a bit on the twisted side that’s for sure. I keep the book in the car for times when I need to pass the time while waiting in traffic or eating lunch etc.

      I am glad you shared it with us. So thanks :)

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    • 6 Omyword! // Mar 14, 2008 at 11:53 am

      I found you through that bad bra Olga, just by clicking on her blog roll. But I must say that I was attracted to your name…it reminded me of the code name for hookers in London: Model Debby.

      Be that as it may, I was trolling for meme victims and when I read all about a book inspiring you to shit, well, I knew I had found my prey – and my next addition to my RSS feed. Yesiree Betty.

      I would also like to contribute to this discussion and say that every time I go to a bookstore, I must rush to the restroom in the exact same way. It never fails. It’s my body saying, “So. You want to be a writer now, do ya?”

      Anyway – I hope you mozy on over to my blog to pick up yer meme. No requirements to participate. Just glad to make your acquaintance.

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    • 7 Flug // May 5, 2008 at 5:27 am

      Thanks for the hint. I´ll buy the book as well.

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    • 8 kim // May 29, 2010 at 11:21 am

      FYI. Softex isn’t toilet tissues. Softex is a local brand for pads, sanitary napkins.

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