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balance (2): stutter

Tuesday, April 5, 2005


spinning like a top. i have so much to write that i have nothing to write at all. i feel like i am in of those nightmares where every time i blink the faces and surroundings morph into other faces and other surroundings. i have been working my ass off, literally (ow)! i wake up at about 8am and i don't leave my computer until 2am. but every time it comes down to payment, the people i am doing projects for start humming vaguely... my bank account sadly neglected, by blatant liars who promise me the moon... i have done absolutely everything i can think of now to make money in thailand in the past few months, without starting a business of my own, and nothing has yet been successful. i am down to my last 13,000 baht (about $225).

'o' on the other hand is spending about half his time with me and half with his family. they are ecstatic as, after years of abject poverty, they are at last filthy rich, and have moved from backwoods isaan into a gated community at the edge of bangkok. as i mentioned some time ago his cousin married a german man, moved to germany, and inherited about a million dollars when he died suddenly shortly afterwards. she has come for a visit for the songkran festival (which is next week, heralded by the blistering heat and intermittent downpours of monsoon season), and is bearing gifts of new business capital and cars. (she has pictures of the corpse and of her smiling at his grave, and though that side of 'o''s family is effusively nice, i can't help but be a little suspicious). anyway, 'o' has decided his family is more lucrative than i am now, all the less reason for him to get a job and help out, so i haven't bothered to pay any attention to him in weeks. he did do a short stint as a talent scout for a modelling company, which was sort of cute as he dressed up and went into an air conditioned high rise every day, but it ended up being mostly sales for (no) commission. his aunt gave him a computer which i decked out for him and i bought him a book so he could learn different programs, which he has actually spent some time learning from, but all in all he's just happily anticipating a free ride in the near future.

i have gone to several family gatherings of late- a succession of miserable bus rides taking 2 1/2 hours, and landing in the middle of their plastic suburban development that looks straight out of Anytown, USA. 'o''s mom glares at me and his aunts all ask (to my silent chuckling) why i am not married and pregnant yet. they still prepare meals on the kitchen floor and they still sleep 8 people to a room (also on the floor), but it isn't the old days any longer, when they would scramble to sell baskets of friend chicken on the street to pay their rent. they all refuse to call me by name- instead i am "farang", but i get free food and an air conditioned room to sleep in, and ot and i ride bikes to the market with his 3 year old niece, 'nong tan' who has a worrying obsession with everything pink but is very charming.

i feel a horrible despair, as i have always thought that if i wanted something badly enough and worked hard i would get it, but i suppose the thais could have told me that is not true in this country. so my very bleak future seems to be taking a plane back to the US in a couple of weeks at the latest and starting my life all over again from scratch, alone. in which case, i really and truly feel like giving up.


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