Party in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Of cows and milk. (Or how i suck at boys.) (Or please don’t misread that subtitle.)

I want to throw out there this idiom (or whatever it is, The Google seems to think it’s an idiom) that I’m sure you’re all familiar with: “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.” Really, I never understood the quote. Because who the fuck wants to buy a cow even if they’re not getting free milk? Cows are big and they smell and milking them is a bitch (OK, I’ve never actually milked a cow, but I’ve milked a goat, and it was a bitch).

Shouldn’t it rather be “why buy the carton when you get the milk for free?” I mean, if you want milk you’re more likely to go to the store and buy a carton and not a whole cow. Unless you’re Amish maybe. And I don’t think the Amish have pre-marital sex anyways so it’s not even a relevant idiom for them. And they would probably want the cow even if they had all the free milk in the world.

But even then, there are plenty of reasons to buy a carton of milk even though you can get it free. Maybe you prefer soy milk. Or Nestle Quick. Maybe the free milk is that icky powder stuff. Maybe it’s whole and you like skim. Maybe it isn’t pasteurized.

Reading over that last paragraph I don’t think I’m doing myself any favors at dissecting this quote. Because I think I am describing myself (oh wait, I mean the glass of milk) as expired powder non-chocolate milk. Which is probably the worst kind of milk there is.

And I don’t think I (I mean, this particular glass of milk) am the worst kind of milk there is.

And I think I may have just inadvertently explained this idiom to myself.

Maybe I should start over.

Maybe it’s more that you’re getting the milk from that very cow and therefore from that very carton. So it’s the same milk. I guess that probably makes the idiom more apt (it’s apt. Apt!). Just on one hand you get a nice refreshing glass of 2% and on the other you are stuck with something that sits in your fridge taking up room and will eventually go so bad that it congeals into one big clump and makes all your fresh produce smell (am I the only one who never cleaned out her refrigerator?).

That’s probably a little more along the lines of what it means.

But what if that carton of milk was perfectly happy being drunk every day (not like an alcoholic, I mean, like, you having a glass of milk for daily breakfast, afterall, it does do a body good). And what if it sometimes came with a little chocolate syrup or heated up on the stove. Same same, but different. What if it never went bad (OK, I can’t promise it would never go a little sour). What if it was a pretty damn awesome carton of milk. Like unicorn milk or something.

Wouldn’t you want to buy a pretty damn awesome carton of unicorn milk and keep it all for yourself?

Anyways, why am I writing all this, you may be wondering.

I’m not even sure if I know that.

But I’m sure, with my recent history, you can pretty much guess where this one is going.

Party at my hostel in Chiang Mai.

My hostel threw a party the other night. Everyone came out to drink and eat curry in the backyard. A little while in, I finally mustered up enough courage (read: drank enough beer) to sit at the bar. I used the excuse of ordering another Chang to grab a spare stool and strike up a conversation with the guy sitting there. But I really wanted to talk to the guy behind the bar. Because he was incredibly cute. And because I’d seen him every day for the last week and we always smiled at each other and said “hi,” but I never worked up the nerve to strike up a conversation.

Party at my hostel in Chiang Mai.

But I was now on my third beer. (Please note, the first two were the big ones.)

Party at my hostel in Chiang Mai.

I asked him his name and he told me. And I told him mine and he said “we finally actually met.” And then, throughout the evening we talked. About photography, about travel, about whatever. But I didn’t really think anything would happen.

Party at my hostel in Chiang Mai.

And then, later in the night, a couple of bars later, I convinced him to dance, and then he kissed me. And hugged me. And held my hand.

Party at my hostel in Chiang Mai.

I had intended to leave the next day (although I said that every day I was in Chiang Mai), but when we rolled out of bed at 2pm I figured I was staying at least another night.

He was nursing a bad hangover and so I left for the day and hardly saw him for the rest, except when I went to check if he was still alive and we sat around flipping through the TV for a bit.

But then we left, and he disappeared. And it wasn’t until hours later that I saw him walk by, back to his room, without even glancing my way.

A little while later, I went up to bed. But I didn’t want to go to bed. And so, I made a detour and sheepishly knocked on his door. Add that to the long line of things I would have never done a year ago. Make any sort of move.

But he said he wouldn’t be “good company,” whatever that means. Because to me good company is someone who just wants to lay in bed and not have small talk and watch TV.

But he said he wanted to go to see my friend fight the next night.

But I didn’t see him the next day. So, instead, managed to round up about 25 people from our hostel to go with. Here’s the real kicker of it all: he ended up driving the 25 of us to the ring and then didn’t even go. And then the next day he kind of just avoided me. Or ignored me. Or whatever. (Seriously though, it was pretty awesome that I arranged an entirely successful hostel outing, right? So much so that I should care more about that than the fact that one loser boy didn’t come, right? So much so that I should probably just get a job at a hostel and stay in Asia forever, right?)

It sucked. Because I did kind of like him. And I did kind of want to get to know him better. And did kind of want there to be more. And it’s not that I expected marriage or anything. But a simple “hi” instead of walking right past me at would have been nice. I mean, I don’t necessarily like it, but I’ve gotten used to one night stands when there are reasons to never see the person again. Namely, that they are leaving the next day. Or I am. That’s how this whole travel thing works.

That’s why I refuse to do such things at home. At home, there isn’t an excuse. You know the chances of seeing them again are better. You can take your time.

On my last night in Chiang Mai, drinking beers in the garden, one of the guys who worked at my hostel was questioning why I was leaving (I was, really, planning on leaving). He asked me if I felt at home there. And the answer was yes. Yes, I did.

But I fucked it up by breaking my rule.

But, whatever, there are always other boys. There will, someday, be someone who sticks around long enough to see that I am one awesome carton of unicorn milk.

And anyways, I mean, he clicked past Return of the Living Dead while saying that there was nothing good on TV for god’s sake. If that isn’t a deal breaker, then I don’t know what is.


p.s. if you really want to know, I actually did fall in love in Chiang Mai. His name was Starfish. I think he loved me back. But, then again, we kind of had an open relationship.

Me and the hostel cat Starfish

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Chelsa
    June 15, 2012at9:56 am

    You are one awesome fucking carton of unicorn milk 🙂

  • Waegook Tom
    June 15, 2012at12:09 pm

    Val, I LOVE this post – you ARE a carton of awesome unicorn milk, and don’t you forget it!

    The dude at the hostel sounds like a bit of a douche. I don’t get when people act that way. Unless you were falling over him and slurringly hinting about your ring finger size, then he needs to get over himself already.

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