Saturday, September 06, 2008

Off the Track

My emotional roller coaster ride did not stop last night. After a nap in the afternoon to recover from my harrowing experience with the motorbike, taxi and van, and my triumph at the Labour Ministry, I awoke to find a text message from Pim telling me she was going out to dinner with colleagues from work and would be home "late." A couple of hours later I sent her a message asking what she was doing. Drinking at the office with my friends, was her reply. And a couple of hours after THAT, she sent me a text saying they were off to visit a bar. "Sorry" was her final message at nearly 1 a.m. She never came home.

Obviously all of my words about what must be done to save our relationship have had little effect. After Pim returned ten days ago from our one-day separation, she went off the following weekend to Hua Hin for two nights with two friends from high school. Did you tell them, I asked upon her return, that you're living with an old farang? No. If you want to stay with me, I said, then you must tell them by the end of this month, or we will separate, for good this time.

I feel like I have egg on my face. What a stupid, silly melodrama. Jerry tells me not to call myself an old fool, but it's hard to avoid it.

I have to face the fact that I am part of Pim's strategy for living a better life. She enjoys the perks, the small but nice apartment, the 10,000 baht a month I have pledged to pay her (the girlfriend's fee), air-conditioning and a warm shower, the gifts I give her (a watch for her birthday, now repaired), the food I pay for, and the proximity to her work (a short ride across the Pinklao bridge over the Chao Phraya River). But she is not the sensitive and compassionate lover I'd hoped for. Perhaps she is too young and will grow into that role, but not with me. I had expected that we would have a dinner together last night to celebrate, or perhaps commiserate, the day's events, but she had other plans.

I haven't been able to sleep, and it's just getting light here in Bangkok. When I separated from my second ex-wife, I spent several months without sufficient sleep. It felt like an acid hangover. It's hard to focus on anything when your eyes are burning and your heart is pounding. And I was teaching a class at UC Santa Cruz and trying to finish my Ph.d. dissertation at the time. Last night when I should have been sleeping, I tried to watch a movie in Spanish, but the subtitles were difficult to follow.

Whenever Pim returns, I will tell her that it is obvious to me that we are no longer boyfriend and girlfriend. So I will stop subsidizing her lifestyle. She can stay here as a guest (not a roommate) until she finds something else. I hope we can be friends. Without my assistance, she will probably have to find a second job so she can continue to support her now-divorced mother. I'm sure she cares for me, but it is not and perhaps never has been love in the romantic sense. I was a "new experience" for her (a phrase we've used to joke about the unfamiliar). I am beginning to think there is much about her life that she did not reveal. The disconnect between her words and her actions recently has puzzled me. Probably like a new toy, she grew bored with living with a farang past his prime. Do I love her, or is it much the same? We met a year ago September 15th when I took her to lunch after becoming acquainted online. And it's been -- dare I say it -- a mostly wonderful roller coaster ride.

I would like to take the advice given by Marcus during our recent dust up and one-day separation: "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."

It's time to put my house in order and learn to live alone. Perhaps celibacy might be a good idea after all. Once I've recovered and gotten a good night's sleep, I'd like to work on my meditation practice and spend some time in the gym down on the 6th floor. And maybe I can finish seeing that movie. Now that I'm a legally employed teacher in Thailand, I want to get my life back on track.

1 comment:

Marcus said...

Well done on the visa and work permit Will! And thank God your car accident wasn't worse than it was. Phew.

"It's time to put my house in order and learn to live alone. Once I've recovered and gotten a good night's sleep, I'd like to work on my meditation practice and spend some time in the gym down on the 6th floor. And maybe I can finish seeing that movie. Now that I'm a legally employed teacher in Thailand, I want to get my life back on track."

Fabulous positive - no, not 'positive, more 'realistic' - attitude. Nice one! All the best with your meditation, gym work and teaching Will.

(PS - it might be better NOT to go for a more advanced book with your students just yet, they might find it too tough. Better to spend a while consolidating. Perhaps another book at the same level covering the same grammar etc, but in a different series, different publisher? Just an idea.)

All the best Will, you're an inspiration to us all.

Marcus