Saturday, September 30, 2006

No Bodhi Tree in the Back Yard....

It's after 8.00 AM and I have just dragged my lazy, tired farang ass out of bed! It would not have occurred by now if it wasn't for one hungry pooch jumping all over the bed. Once I fed her, of course she had to go outside. Whatta shame! Autumn is here and sleeping is so cozy.

I have a few thoughts to share and they're not warm and fuzzy. One of the things I want to bring to the table in addition to the Thailand stuff is authenticity. It's important that it doesn't become a cutesy, shallow blog about clothes, housewares and adopted customs. Instead, I want to be able to communicate not only what led me to make the decision to move to Thailand but also what continues to convince me that it is Right Action.

If you read yesterday's blog, you know that V. bolted from rehab. That's his choice and it isn't my job to run him down or talk about how he should have done what others think he should have done instead of what he thinks he should have done. Those of us who are in recovery know that we get sober when we're ready to get sober - for our own reasons - not because someone else thinks we should.

What I want to talk about is the people who surround him. The cast of characters includes Che, one of his oldest and best friends. It also includes his mother, his sister, his brother and his girlfriend. Those are the key players. There are others, here and there.

One of the amazing things about group dynamics and being an outsider is that I can watch this stuff from a detached perspective. While I am a participant, it's not as part of the "inner circle". V. is a friend of sorts. He's not a close friend. He's a housemate. Sometimes he is a particularly annoying housemate. Sometimes I want to kick his ass. There are times when he gets drunk and plays loud music. At those times, homicide feels like a viable option.

There. I've said it. Thailand Girl is far from a saint. There's no Boddhi tree in the back yard. The short, stocky woman in Thai clothes is very human. I have a temper. Sometimes an f-bomb is the only thing that works when something is sufficiently irritating. Sometimes I am a judgemental witch widda "b". I'm opinionated. We're all subject to the vicissitudes of daily living and we all learn at different rates. I'm not so detached that none of this affects me. And growing is a hard process. There are times when it's harder than others.

Okay. Watching this interaction over the past few weeks has caused me to pause for thought.

Everyone in this drama has an agenda. Every person in his "inner circle" seems to have plans for V's life, regardless of his own. There are more egos around here than ~ as the old saying goes ~ Carter's has Farter-Starters. He is surrounded by a self-involved bunch of people. Each one has his or her own preconceived notion of what V's life will be after he gets sober. And each one has a personal stake in the outcome. His mother wants to see him make money so that he can pay her back for all the credit card debt he has incurred. His sister wants him to get sober so that she can claim credit since she is the one who tracked down the detox center and pulled strings to get him in on short notice. His brother just wants validation that he is doing anything at all. His girlfriend makes plenty of noise about wanting him sober but doesn't really. When he's drunk, he gets generous and buys her expensive stuff like plasma TVs. She's a good-time girl and that is apparent. Che wants to participate because when V. gets sober, he'll be able to work again and Che will make money from V's efforts.

There is not a single person in this who has said, "I want to see V get sober because he'll have a higher quality of life and will have choices that he does not have now."

This is utterly mind-boggling. At what point in human history did we determine that this sort of utilitarian manipulation of other people's lives for our own gain became not only acceptable ~ but a cultural more'? And what's worse is that speaking openly about it isn't even considered unseemly.

I'm not such a mindless, uneducated dolt that I believe this sort of thing doesn't occur in Thailand. There is no utopia. I am up on the news and the recent coup is certainly enough evidence that self-interest above the common good is alive and well, even in my beloved Land of Smiles. At the same time, I don't believe it is as prevalent in day-to-day life among regular folk like you and me. There is a gentleness and graciousness present in the culture that allows people to breath a little sigh of relief and relax. There is a social expectation of kindness that sooths a western soul and convinces us that there are in fact kind people in the world who aren't out to "get us" somehow. (Yeah, just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean..... bleh bleh.)

I want to hear just one person tell V. that he should get sober because he is a free human being who gets to make choices about his life. I want to hear one person tell him that even if others don't like it, that as long as he harms no one, he should make the choices that will give his life meaning and vibrancy. "Follow your bliss"! I want to hear one person tell him "I will stand behind you, even if your choices wouldn't be the same as mine." I want to hear one person say, "If you decide to run off and become a beach bum in Belize, I see nothing wrong with that. It's your life. You own it."

I'll be waiting a long, long time, I suspect.

It's going to be a lazy kind of day here. This ongoing drama is taking its toll. Aside from a lunch commitment already made and unavoidable, it will be a day of books, music, gardening and napping! (Anyone else finding more tomato worms than usual? It's become hand-to-hand combat between the little critters and my sheers. I do not kill them but carry them out to the front and drop them on the concrete.)

Sometimes taking a break from the world can restore us and that seems like the best thing for today and tomorrow. When I do this, there is no phone, very little TV or computer. Once I've checked the news, the TV is off for the day. It's fully restorative time with good food, beautiful reading and music ~ just getting back to the important stuff.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Tired Thailand Gal

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