Meanderings of a Bedridden Finger Twitcher

It should be a war zone out there.  With every blast, the hinges on my door rattle, and the thought takes seed in the fatty folds of my brain: you’ve been locked away in this room for some two days, now, gurgle-gurgle (since that’s the sound my brain makes).  With all of this business going on in Toonland of late, how far away from civil war could they really have been?”  My brain also has a similar accent to Peter Lorre, and speaks Dutch, to help color your imagination.  Having conquered ramen for lunch, sans flavor packet and with accompanying spurts of stomach, I figured I had to eat something more for dinner.  I ventured out into the “shit”, as it would have been theoretically called, were I theoretically in Vietnam in the theoretical sixties.  Fortunately, shockingly, interestingly, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicavolcanociniosistically, it was not a literal explosion of two feuding parties, but – everybody smile – fireworks!  F fireworks.  Slander, sedate, maim, injure, and then F them.  I’m not really one to criticize a country’s customs or social norms: I’ll criticize the behavior of individuals acting in a way that I perceive to be unsavory, whether or not they exhibit certain characteristics of their particular country, or…well, maybe I do criticize certain customs of certain countries, but only because I’m a curmudgeon (or I, at least, enjoy portraying myself as one).  I concede very quickly the fact that I have absolutely no right to say anything about them lest they bully me on the million differences I exhibit, a sore blonde thumb in their normal everyday.  I might not be backpacking, right, but I’m still a traveler – I’m here for a freckle of four months – and even if I were here for five years, I wouldn’t understand a modicum of the mountain of cultural at work here.  That’s why I’m going to say that I don’t understand Thai people and fireworks.  Obviously, given my last encounter with fireworks, I don’t understand fireworks, myself, but I might proffer (why does this word exist?  Does it really mean mostly the same thing as “offer”?  Can it really be just a word reserved for a-holes like myself?)this: this Royal Kingdom doesn’t understand them, either.  Call me a hypocritical American, but “celebration” is not a synonym for “explosion”.  If it were, I would have used it in my lesson last week and saved myself a lot of trouble (back reference!  Did you notice?).  In the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, the Thais threw lit fireworks at whoever walked past, a sort of sadist’s march working in union with a masochist spectatorship.  Does it give Thais a bit of pause when fifty percent of their population is a few knuckles short of a hand, a few chunks chewed of a cheek (ed.’s note: “fifty percent” is neither an accurate representation, nor one intended to behave as one)?  It’s baffling.
Further, tonight, as I hit the pavement for the first time in a while, dizzy with fever, clutching stomach and head, hands filled with painfruit (how’s that for a ridiculous line?  Painfruit…), I couldn’t help but ponder this awesome display.  It’s Father’s Day in Thailand, the commemoration of the King’s Birthday, but the charade made me really, horribly sad.  The king is everything to these wonderful people – I mightn’t risk neck by declaring Thais to be amongst The Top 5 Nicest People on Earth – and he just went out sick with bronchitis.  A few months ago, he went down with a lessening flow of blood to his brain.  Having ruled for sixty-four years, he’s the longest-tenured monarch on the planet (though someone should fact check me on that).  In light of all of this political hullabaloo, the last thing the Thais need is their beloved King in anything but tip-top shape.  I don’t know what I’m talking about, but the short display that I got to observe tonight cemented this, and, frankly, it left an ironic taste in my mouth (sort of lemon-metallic).  Idolatry for strangers is, with reflection, interesting (stop smirking, Jon Brion).  I suppose it’s much easier to revere a person from a distance, so we mightn’t notice the scars and blemishes.  I wonder after some of the sources of misplaced or undeserved idolatry: ignorance, ineptitude, insecurity?  When I watch a movie or read a book, hear a song or stare at (observe? Watch?  Look at?  They all sound creepy) a painting and I absolutely love it to a level beyond my brain, I eventually categorize it into one of two categories (this is only applicable for film and literature, really): I love it because I wish I had written it, or I love it because I know that I never, ever could.  I guess the latter category is something, but this is a complicated procession for a remarkably simple point.  In a base, distilled, purified, filtered, unadorned, succinct, laconic, terse, concise, voluble concentration of all of the above, what I mean to say is:

Eric Millman
Bann Bai Mansion
8 soi Parangtum #101
T. Horattanachai,
Ayutthaya, 13000

In other words, I’m full of shit/I am tired to where I forgot what my point was/I thought I would let you have my address.  You have no idea of how tough that is to figure out.  I would have PROMISED you that I lived on 8 soi Pa Thon, but whatever.  That’s what my landlady gave me, so…enjoy.  You can sleep soundly knowing you can find me on Google Maps.

I know it’s a little late, but how is that Ben Lee sings, “they play Good Charlotte on the radio/and that’s the way I like it”, and then says, “they don’t play me on the radio/and that’s the way I like it”.  How is that possible?  Catchy schmaltz like that isn’t on the radio?  And he admits that he likes Good Charlotte?  What does he want from us?  I have too much time on my hands.

“A Voice At The End Of The Line” by M. Ward.  After two years with you, I wish to declare you beautiful.  Our relationship has been tumultuous, and surely I’ve flirted with others – hell, I’ve thrown that word around quite a bit, using it on many just the same – but nevertheless, you deserve to know that you are beautiful.  Now, don’t just blush and thank me, certainly don’t roll your eyes, because your beauty goes beyond the typical use of the word.  Your beauty doesn’t shame models or embarrass princesses – you might as well say that the flavor and elegance of a bottle of perfect Beaujolais exceeded that of motor oil – no, your beauty is such that it is categorical.  Your beauty lives in its own parlour, lonely and unaware, one that transcends time and subject and even creator.  Your beauty, I’m sorry to say, belongs to the universe now.  It’s the mist in a cloud, the warmth in a ray of sun, the cold in an icicle.  When I heard you tonight, my stomachache subsided and my ills dissipated.  I wasn’t in a country foreign to my upbringing, one wracked in turmoil, I wasn’t a full day away from the majority of my loved ones, I wasn’t stuck in bed: I was listening to you.

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~ by nearhelsinki on December 5, 2008.

One Response to “Meanderings of a Bedridden Finger Twitcher”

  1. happy beginning of hannukah! and happy i’m-done-with-finals-and-can-now-read-your-posts 🙂

    hope life is good!

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