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I Have Absolutely Nothing To Say Today

A Pigeon in the Wall
For the past thirty minutes, I have typed nothing. Not a word. And the staff here at the Cafe Coffee Day, a sort of Starbucks-like Indian coffee chain, have started whispering to each other every time they glance in my direction. My guess is that they are confused. Why would I be sitting at a table for so long, with my laptop open and turned on, with my hands on the keyboard in typing position but, without my fingers moving at all.

In all honesty, up until a moment ago, I was as equally confused as they have been.

The problem is that it’s been a struggle for me to write as of late. I sit down and my mind is blank, over and over again. As a result, I was even forced to skip my Monday post this week, something I try very hard to avoid doing.

As I mention often, it’s not easy working/writing while traveling and when that traveling takes place in a country as tiring as India, it is even more of a challenge. To constantly switch between a traveling state of mind and a work-focused state of mind is often a near impossible task (it takes time to prepare the brain for work and I can’t just pop back to my hotel for a couple of hours and get cracking) and it doesn’t take long to fall behind, very behind, when I’m unable to get in the right work mode. Once that happens, the pressure is on and my brain tends to stall.

But at the same time, without the traveling, there would be no work at all and so I must always continue to try and accomplish both at the same time.

And while my time in Goa over the past couple of weeks was delightfully relaxing, the final week was a little less so, which has led to my current writing struggles. I’m sure that my intense bout of fish poisoning (which still hasn’t completely gone away) had something to do with it and when the overnight bus journey from Goa to Mumbai a few nights ago ended up involving one badly broken bus, being stranded on the side of the road, taking two long rickshaw rides to towns I’d never heard of, being stuck at a bus station that had no buses going anywhere and eventually having to take an expensive taxi ride for the remaining 60 kilometers of the trip, it makes sense that I’m not really in the mood to blog right now.

Also, even though I do keep a list of potential post ideas in a folder on my desktop, ideas that I can always turn to whenever the inspiration is lacking, I’ve been unable to turn any of those ideas into actual posts either. Day after day I stare at my screen without making any progress.

However, when I woke up this morning, I realized that it’s Thursday and that I had no more time to waste. I needed to write a post today as I wasn’t about to skip two posts this week.

That’s why, as I walked out of my hotel in the Fort district of Mumbai at around 10:00am and began the one and a half kilometer walk to the quieter Colaba neighborhood, I found myself begging my brain to concentrate, to spend that walk doing nothing else but thinking of an idea for today’s post, or at least the beginning of an idea. I wanted to have a topic ready by the time I settled into my chair at Cafe Coffee Day so that I could get to work and finally accomplish something.

Unfortunately, whether it was the Mumbai traffic and all the noise, the death-defying street crossings I had to make en route or the mild headache that I woke up with today, I couldn’t concentrate at all. By the time I reached this cafe, and had ordered my cappuccino and taken a seat at the last remaining table, I was as lost for a post idea as I have been all week.

An Idea…Finally!

Incredibly though, just as the frustration really started setting in after thirty minutes of sitting here, right as I was shaking my head in disbelief and angrily asking myself ‘How can you have nothing to say?’, everything changed. It suddenly occurred to me that this one question was actually the answer to my problem.

Yes, I have nothing to say. I have absolutely nothing to say at all today.

That was all it took. After a quick smile at the thought of letting all of you know that I have nothing to say today, I shrugged my shoulders, licked my lips (which helped me discover a piece of toast that had apparently been stuck to my upper lip since breakfast and which was probably the real reason the staff at this cafe were talking about me) and started moving my fingers.

The result is this post, all about nothing. And even though I certainly do apologize for wasting a few moments of your day with this post about nothing, I must admit that it feels extremely satisfying and quite therapeutic to be writing it. I even contemplated writing a 500 word post where I would simply repeat the word “Nothing” 500 times.

Just the realization that it is perfectly alright to have nothing to say every now and then, and to also write about having nothing to say, has made me feel so much lighter and happier. I know that I could have very easily just skipped this post altogether and spared you from such nonsense, but I really couldn’t help it. I felt like writing it all down just because it feels so good. Sorry!

But here comes the best part. It seems a little rude of me to just end this post right now and to leave you with only the above written nothingness. The least I could do is to show you some video nothingness as well.

So here’s a short clip that was taken while I was in Goa a few days ago, at a time when I was unsuccessfully trying to get some work done despite dealing with, in addition to the fish poisoning, an incredible two-day bout of nonstop hiccups that suddenly appeared.

After searching for some hiccup remedies online, this video is the result of what I found…


(If you’re reading this post as an email, you can click here to watch the video.)

Enjoy your weekend everyone and thank you for putting up with me today!


By the way, do you have any hiccup remedies to share?

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78 Responses to I Have Absolutely Nothing To Say Today

  1. Shelley says:

    I find it really funny that you likened Cafe Coffee day as a kind of Starbucks. LOL. The reason I find it funny is because my group of expat friends from around the world whom all live in Hyderabad (where I was for 5 years), were all dying for a Starbucks to come to India, and would roll their eyes at the comparison (there is one in Mumbai now). But we were expats, not travelers. We were always cranky about food and certain comforts that we missed.
    Though I guess in essence, Cafe coffee day is as close to a Starbucks as you can get in India (though I prefer Gloria Jeans).

  2. I don’t know what to say, either. Perhaps I’ll say nothing as well.

    But a spoonful of peanut butter, now that works for hiccups.

  3. Try inhaling and exhaling – take a long breath, get your lungs full, count to 10 and then exhale. It helps all the time. Hope you get better soon.

  4. Extremely wonderful post about nothing, Earl. A real gem! :)
    As for hiccups cures, I can also say that drinking water with your head down has worked for me every single time so far. Too bad it didn’t do the job for you that day!

    Get well soon!

  5. Lauren says:

    Hi Earl,

    You must try this the next time you get hiccups. It sounds crazy, but it works ALL of the time. I’ve had a 100% success rate with it for years. Just trust me– it will change your life!

    Find yourself a match and a cup of water. Then strike the match, and hold it over the cup of water until you can’t anymore, then blow it out, take a deep breath, and chug the water.

    I think some combination of breathing in the match fumes and then holding your breath to drink the water is what does it. I don’t know, but I know that it has never ever failed me, not once! Let me know if you try it :)

  6. kathy says:

    Well you said “nothing” excellently. I know the feeling though when you just can’t seem to get your blog on, I am really far behind on mine at the moment and am home for a few months. You would think that would be excellent to write, but at home I am easily distracted…. It’s almost like I need the travel to keep focused!

    PS you sure you don’t have dengue???

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Kathy – I’m think I’m sure I don’t have dengue :) Everything seems to be back to normal right now finally. And I agree about the difficultly of working when there are distractions around. Sometimes I wish I was forced to go to an office everyday so that I would have no other option but to work!

  7. Michael McDaniel says:

    I learned a full proof remedy for hiccups from my father. He learned the remedy from his grandmother who was Cherokee from Oklahoma. To stop hiccups, you must take a deep breath and hold your breath for ten long seconds and then take a deep swallow. If it doesn’t work on the first try, it always works on the second try.

    A co-worker had a bad case of hiccups last week and I told him this remedy. His hiccups stopped on the first try to his amazement.

    Good luck Earl,

    Mike

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Mike – I actually did try that method as well but it wasn’t successful for me. These hiccups were unlike any other I’ve ever had…they just wouldn’t respond to any potential cure!

  8. Amy says:

    It’s amazing how this post about nothing kept me reading ’til then end. Part of me went “damn!” and another part went “I totally get it!”

    Peas and Carrots!

  9. Dr. Barry says:

    I hear the best way to cure the hiccups is to call your grandmother

  10. Shane says:

    Writing about nothing is fine sometimes. If, however, you type “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” over and over then we will have cause for real concern.

  11. I can recommend a hiccup remedy. You need to be startled by someone. You will forget that you have been hiccuping. I wonder why the staff at Starbucks where whispering.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Shalu – My friends that were at the beach with me tried the startling method and it didn’t work. I think they tried four or five times and nothing changed unfortunately!

      • Hey Earl, I think you perhaps knew that they were doing it for you to get rid of your hiccups perhaps that is why it didn’t work. Anyway, in India there is a saying that if you are hiccuping than you are being remembered or being talked about.

  12. Erica says:

    Article about nothing was great. I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets writers block! Hope your feeling better. As for the hiccups try gulping water followed by taking a deep breath, a sip of water (which you will not swallow but let sit in your mouth) and hold your breath for as long as possible. Try this a few times because the first couple times usually result in hiccuping. Good Luck!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Erica – You’re definitely not the only one who gets writers block! It happens to everyone at some point (or many points!) for sure. And thank you for the hiccup cure…I tried a few things with water and breathing but not this specific series of steps :)

  13. Craig says:

    Geez Earl….Sounds like your dying in this video. LOL!!! Its like a scene from a horror flick

  14. Maria says:

    Never a waste of time to show us we’re not alone. *grin*

    Oh! Btw, NEVER attempt to cross the street (anywhere in Asia) unless you’re fully committed to the act. There’s no turning back after the first footfall. *laugh*

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Maria – Good point…normally here in India I just wait for a local to start crossing the street and then I use them as a protective barrier, following a half a step behind!

  15. Dalene says:

    When all else fails, and if you continue to have nothing to say….may I suggest another video with your rubber ducky? :)

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Dalene – Haha…my rubber ducky. I left that thing in Bucharest unfortunately which was quite rude of me actually since he really wanted to come to India.

      I’ll have to find another animal to take a bath with :)

  16. 2 days of hiccups!!!!!!!!!!!! Pobrecito! And I’m sorry about your stomach bug, I’m currently dealing with one too, NOT fun!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Andi – It actually wasn’t a stomach bug…fish poisoning leads to rashes and hives, as well as a swollen face, which was as equally not enjoyable though. Hope you’re feeling better now!

  17. Rolo says:

    The Cuban hiccup cure, which has never failed for me:

    Rip the corner off of a tissue or a paper napkin, about the size of your thumb. Dip the paper in water, and stick the soaked paper onto the middle of your forehead. Let it dry. By the time it dries, your hiccups will be gone.

    Sounds silly, and you will looks silly for a few minutes, but IT WORKS!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Rolo – I’m more than happy to look very silly if it means getting rid of the hiccups! I’ll have to try your very unique method next time around…

  18. Xavier says:

    While I’ve never had a hiccup lasting for two days, I have a simple trick that has always done wonder for me.
    Just relax and concentrate on a slow and deep breathing until it stop.

  19. Pail says:

    How very Seinfeldesque! I actually think it’s good to not force yourself to write every week. Obviously this blog is a very important part of how your life is structured at the moment, however there’s always a balance between quantity and quality. No pint in writing for the sake of getting a post up. So far, I think you’re doing a brilliant job.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Pail – Thanks for that and you’re absolutely right of course, taking time off every now and then is not such a bad thing as it does help keep me motivated and focused, and hopefully producing something of quality. We’ll see how it goes from now on but I might take a break on occasion in order to avoid getting burnt out!

  20. Steve C says:

    Hiccup remedy: Eat fish curry! (just kidding)

    Just a personal observation, but I don’t think anybody possesses the ability to think and write all the time. Think of a sine wave. The positive part is when your mind just can’t quit coming up with all kinds of things. Then there’s the negative part when you can’t come up with anything, even if your life depended on it. That’s the way life is. Of course there all types of things that may influence this. Like a hang-over, fish curry (just kidding again), or maybe lack of sleep. Watch out, the Dr. is in!

    Then, to accommodate this fact of life, you might try doing what the syndicated cartoonists do who have to come up with a new strip every day. When the sine curve is high, they draw like mad and get themselves a couple weeks ahead of the game. It’s also like: “Make hay while the sun shines”.

    I think you should have stayed in Goa another couple weeks to make up for the time you spent in that curry induced delirious state of mind. Slow down!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Steve – Thanks for the advice and the idea of writing posts in advance, whenever my brain is turned on, is a solid one. The problem is that for me, it takes many hours to write one post (editing/revising them over and over again, finding photos, editing those, some code work, etc.), so by the time one is finished, I’m usually not able to sit down and write another one. It’s happened on occasion, and if it only took me an hour or two to write a post, it would happen more often I’m sure!

  21. Wandering Earl says:

    Oops! Sorry about that…the video is now working!!

  22. Peter says:

    Hi earl,
    You describe your voyage in s much colour..who needs photographs after that..
    I have to agree with most of the writers above me, you are a born writer..describing what happens to you is readable enough, and to top it with a video that does not work(as remarked already)fits the story perfectly..
    Thank You for sharing all that happens, giving us tons of insight..and a lesson in accepting life as it comes..we in the hasty”civilised”world take a lot f things for granted.
    Do continue to keep our eyes opened..

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Peter – I appreciate that comment very much and it means a lot to me to know that readers enjoy what I write on this site, even when I don’t write much at all :)

  23. Colleen says:

    I LOVED this post! = )

    I think, continue to be patient with yourself while you continue to recover. That was absolutely MAJOR what your whole person went through last week with the fish poisoning. The whole chemistry of your body is still readjusting. Plus, India is truly energy-absorbing in the best of circumstances. = )

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Colleen – Energy-absorbing is an excellent way to describe this country! I’m actually leaving India tomorrow and I remember from past experience that the body/mind always goes through a bizarre period of decompression every time I leave. Sometimes you don’t realize how much energy is sucked up while traveling here until you land somewhere else.

  24. Tyrhone says:

    Congrats on turning nothing into something, you’re like the blogging Alchemist. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I am chilling doing not very much in London right now, and so literally have nothing new to write about, but there is always funny stuff from the past that leaks up into the old cranium.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Tyrhone – There’s always something to say, especially when you have so many past travel experiences to pull from. Hope you’re at least enjoying your time of doing not much in London!

  25. M says:

    Haha! I couldn’t get the video to play. So it’s just a black box of nothingness on the screen. Is that part of the joke?
    Everyone is giving hiccup remedies, so I’ll share mine: a spoonful of honey. You wouldn’t think it works, but it totally does!
    I appreciate reading your writing, regardless of subject-matter.
    I hope the last of that fish poisoning leaves your system soon. Anyone would be too worn out to write after that. But you pulled it off!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey M – That would have been a good joke but unfortunately, I actually meant to put up a video that works :) And I’ll have to try your honey method if I have such a bout of hiccups again…I’ll let you know how it goes!

  26. Verena says:

    Oh Earl, please feel free to write whatever you feel like writing about. I love your word choice and your humor and eeeverything, it’s just a pleasure to read your posts and to hear that everything is (at least again) fine. I would even love to read simply random thoughts of yours, you know, without a special topic or tips or conclusions, just what occurs your mind :)
    To answer your question, my only remedy is no remedy at all: I made the experience that a hiccup dissapears as soon as you don’t think about it anymore^^

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Verena – That’s not a bad idea and for a long time I’ve had a note on my list of potential post ideas to start writing short random thoughts every now and then. Perhaps I should finally get around to doing that! And you’re probably right about the hiccups. Most of the methods might be designed to make you forget and that could be done naturally as well…luckily, mine went away one morning and they haven’t returned!

  27. Scott Bloom says:

    This made my day! Thank You, Earl. Even when you say nothing, you speak volumes!

  28. Toni says:

    Honesty is always the best policy whether you feel you ‘have’ something to say or not. Every now and then your mind just gets a little burnt out and the more you tell yourself to ‘get over it’, the less likely it is to happen so just be happy to say that you feel a little ‘ugh’ right now…we’ll still be here when you feel you have something amazing to say :)

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Toni – I appreciate that and after admitting that there was nothing to say, my brain did seem to reset and return back to its normal self, with plenty of ideas floating around!

  29. Natalie says:

    Only you could write about nothing and make it sound interesting! :)

  30. Nigel Thomas says:

    Easy remedy for hiccups, drink a glass of water in small amounts and swallow water little by little.

  31. Never-fail hiccup remedy:

    Plug your ears with your middle fingers, and plug your nose with your thumbs. Close your eyes. Hold your breath and attempt to swallow your spit three times. (You should be slightly out of breath when finished).

    This “re-sets” your diaphragm, and cures hiccups. It has worked for me every time.

    Speaking of doing nothing, reading your post about doing nothing is my way to do nothing (procrastinate), so cheers!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Melissa – Wow, that has to be the most complex hiccup remedy out there but after reading it, I wish I had given this a try. Just trying to set it up would probably be enough to make a person forget about their hiccups :)

  32. JauntyTom says:

    I’m afraid I’ve got nothing else to say :)

    However I’m pretty sure you can write a fairly decent post on “How NOT to treat your hiccups (and how to give your friends a good laugh)”!

    Anyway, after your unpleasant adventures with that nasty fish curry, I hope that the hiccups will remain your most serious health concern for the remaining bits of your travel life, Earl!

  33. Stephen says:

    So days are just like that.

  34. Yep, had a few of those moments myself! I think it must be especially difficult for you at the moment. Being in India there is always something going on, something intresting to see and endless distractions.
    Great post in the end though!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Elle – You’re right, between the distractions and the exhaustion, it’s amazing that I can get anything done over here!

  35. Rhyma says:

    Hold your breath for 8 long counts. It’ll be gone before you know it.

    Dont you just love the Colaba/Town side of Mumbai? I love going there when I visit Mumbai. Just taking in all the sites and imagining all the history that was made that side of town mesmerises me!

    Best,
    Rhyma

  36. Classic!! The thing is Earl, you can write about nothing and it’s still something!! This made me laugh :)

  37. Genna says:

    Bend over at your waist and try to drink a glass of water upside down, I’m pretty sure it’s just the concentrating on not spilling that makes the hiccups stop but it works!

  38. Daniel says:

    Keep at it Earl!

    Your post about Palolem inspired me, I’m here right now, even found the hut you stayed in =)

    India is a trip .. totally get your point about switching mindsets from survival mode to work mode

    The magnificent view from Palolem has enabled me to finally get into work mode today, a well needed break from playing dodgem cars in Delhi.

    Best wishes mate! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Carlos says:

      That’s pretty cool.

      The lesson is: Stay away from a shady looking place that serves seafood. Or else you’ll be adding some unexpected adventure to that paradise.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Daniel – Glad to hear you’re enjoying Palolem and listening to those waves all day certainly does help clear your head and allow you to focus, assuming you can pull yourself away from the sand and water of course!

  39. Iggy Pop Pbt says:

    Two tricks to stop hiccups:
    1. Someone scares you.
    2. Put some sugar under your tongue.

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