AN EXPATRIATE LIVING IN THAILAND
KHUN MICHAEL ("MIKEN") REFLECTS
BUT two things--one: the "crik" of life flows one way. No paddles are issued. There ain't no goin' back up the crik. Soooooo....there ain't no use worryin' about it. And, two: I wish I could have had the life I now have at a lower price, not only to me, but especially to others (notably my ex-wife). But in no way would I want to go back to the life I had before, even if I could. Gradually, living in a small Thai town has come to seem less like an extended visit to Mexico and more like "home". I no longer flinch when motorcycles routinely ride up the shoulder of the highway the wrong way towards me. I am not even vaguely surprised when a car exercises the "right of eminent domain" and pulls straight out in front of me, figuring, correctly, that I will stop if I can. My jaw no longer drops when I see people dyeing their hair, brushing their teeth, picking lice out of kids' hair, or doing just about any other damn thing on the sidewalk in front of their house. I don't expect vehicles to necessarily have their lights on at night (real men don't need headlights and besides, it uses fuel to run the alternator to generate the electricity for the lights---and, to cap it all off---it wears out the light bulb!!!
Actually, this concern for wasting fuel is also the explanation for the driving on the wrong side of the highway---you have to go to a u-turn break in the median strip to turn around and, since where I'm going is "just down here a little ways", it just wouldn't make sense to waste all that gasoline (or diesel)). I am trying to get used to the short term plan being lunch and the long term plan being Dinner (in those cases where there is a plan at all, that is). I can now occasionally discern when the answer to any request (which is inevitably and always, always "yes") means not just not "yes", and not even "no", but "Hell, no!" And I now work into my plans the fact that the statement "I'll be there to do that work tomorrow" means only "You can take it to the bank that I for damned sure won't be there to do that work today". I am pretty inured to walking into a shop and being waited on by someone who is evidently about three-fourths asleep and whose experience on the floor has totaled, at least insofar as can be demonstrated by their ability to actually help me, the 4 or 5 minutes prior to my walking in.