Tuesday, August 26, 2008

As the World Turns

Pim came back last night about 8:30.

At first she said it was because she needed a place to sleep until she found a room. When I told her on Sunday we had to separate, I had also said it was OK for her to stay here temporarily. It didn't take long before she threw her arms around me and asked to stay permanently. Of course I said yes. "I will tell my friends about you," she promised.

Now I am embarrassed about my dramatic post of Sunday. What I interpreted as tragedy probably looks like an episode in a soap opera. My young lover can't make her mind what she wants and I succumb to her every whim. The old dog has forgotten all his tricks.

After hearing the news, my friends had consoled me. Marcus wrote:
It's good that you let her go, and good if you can do so nicely. You are right, she is younger than you and, from what I've seen in your blog, never happy about telling her family and friends. How long could it really last? So wish her well and put it in perspective. A good year for you, for both of you, and now you can both move on.
Eric advised me to keep my chin up, and prescribed the traditional method of debauchery for healing a broken heart:
I'm envious of you, big time ! All those tens of thousands lucky available Thai girls out there just dying to meet somebody exactly like you. I figure by another two - three weeks you'll have trouble juggling them all, bad boy!
Holly suggested I "take a break & hit upscale the bar scene," a wine tasting with tapas this week at a watering hole in her neighborhood. She sent me the web link for a clinical study at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore offering psilocybin to people with a diagnosis of cancer ("probably you have to fake anxiety"). Jerry said he was there for me if I needed anything.

By this morning it was as if Pim had never left. She was in a rush to get to work early at the Post Office because the Peoples Alliance for Democracy is threatening to shut down the city today in its campaign to overthrow the Samak government. More than 100,000 are expected to block roads and surround Government House. At dawn a small group tried and failed to take over one of the government-owned television stations, NBT. The morning news shows police confiscating a variety of scarey weapons from protesters.

As I walked her to the bus stop, I told her we had to talk tonight, something farang like to do. Thais, on the other hand, according to Thailand Fever: A Road Map for Thai-Western Relationships (Bangkok, 2004), avoid confrontation at all costs, and will tell a "noble lie" to save face and the feelings of others. The authors, Chris Pirazzi and Vitida Vasant, write that truth takes a back seat. To deal with your partner's shyness and reservation, they offer this advice:
Whenever you sense the slightest bit of hesitation and even somethimes when you don't, gently, but persistanly ask her if everything is ok. Make it clear that you really want to know how she feels and you won't be offended, no matter what she says. Eventually, you will pry true feelings out of her and you should be able to make her happier.
Why didn't you call or send me a message yesterday that you wanted to come back? I asked. If you didn't want to separate after all, why didn't you try and talk me out of it. "Because I was scared," she said. "I didn't want you argue." She talked about her fears at work yesterday with her colleague Boy, a gay man who is her closest confidant. "What should I do?" she asked him. "Go ask if you can use the shower, and then walk out naked," was his suggestion.

If either of us are unhappy, I told her this morning, then we might have to separate, for good this time. We both know how hard it is for you to continually lie about our relationship. Each of us has to decide what is best for our life, to live together or to go our separate ways. Last night Pim said that she wanted to go with me to the Buddhist temple for tambon, to gain merit by giving a gift to the monks. "To celebrate our new life," she explained.

And Now For Something Completely Different: Prime time in Denver is drinking morning coffee time in Bangkok, very convenient for watching the Democrats Convention. This morning I saw most of Teddy Kennedy's courageous speech, and listened to Michelle Obama and her family. After the choice of Joe Biden, I knew that Obama was someone I could support. And listening to the couple's story has impressed me even more. They do articulate the core values of the Democratic Party, values I've subscribed to since I first voted for John Kennedy in 1960.

But the commentators also have it correct that the Democrats have must begin and continue to pound the record of the most unpopular president in U.S. history and his surrogate John McCain who would be one more unmitigated disaster for the country. Iraq should be named as an immoral and costly mistake (is that too soft a word?) and the collapse of the U.S. economy should be laid at the doorstep of Bush and the pro-business Republicans. Hopefully the Democrats have their big guns in reserve, but they've yet to be fired.

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