Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Koh Samui And The Cold

My friend Wizard got back to work today, after spending a month on Koh Samui learning how to relax and live large for cheap on a beach. It snowed all day while we worked outside, and I got the biggest kick out of watching how his mind was trying to make the adjustment from vacation and beach and sun and surf, to working outside in mittens and a wool cap.

Having spent years and years drastically changing my everyday reality, I recognized the lag he was experiencing. His short term memories were all sunny and warm and full of Thai food and sand with sex (he’s married, and his lovely wife went with him) and fresh papaya juices brought and sold to him while he read on the beach and contemplated rolling on his side...

I could see all this going on in his mind while he was trying to turn himself back into a machine of sorts, standing out in the cold and doing a pretty simple task all day while the brightness of snow shined on his Thailand tan and the snowflakes fell wetly on his sun burnt nose.

Everything reminded him of something only he could know. The smells of vendors. The sounds of waves. The warmth of the salty water as it buoys you and gently bumps you around near the shore.

And yet here he was. Trying to get in the swing of things. Catching up in his mind to where he is now. The reality of life back in the trenches, where humor and stories make the days feel like lofty notions and work becomes a play thing to be looked forward to like a weekend away or a quiet moment with great red wine and a bar of chocolate..

His wife told me this funny anecdote, and in honor of MLK day a day late, I share it here--
While dining in an Indian restaurant in Calcutta, two black men from the Southern US were noticed to be feeling out of sorts. The menu confused them. The atmosphere made them uncomfortable. They were obviously new tourists, and had not yet settled in to their new adventure. They stared nervously at the menu, looked around. Squirmed some. Finally, one of the brothers just had to ask--

“Can’t I just get me some fried chicken and chocolate milk?”

Tomorrow is another fun day on the planet. Hope you’ll be here to witness it...


Hammer said...

I feel bad for Wizard, he hould have slowly acclimatized... kind of like they do in a decompression chamber. Well at least he has warm memories.

That anecdote reminds me of a trip to Alcapulco, where this very girthy man with a serving platter sized belt buckle and ten gallon hat yelled across the "100% natural" restaraunt " Gol Damn! Can't a fella get a fukun Chicken fried steak in this place?"

Odat said...

Hi..just stopping by from Lizza's ...great meme you've started! and your blog is great!

CSL said...

I never can decide which is better - the great moments like travel or the little moments like red wine and chocolate. It's a good life either way.

ammogirl said...

I just want winter to be over. I'm very much a hot sun and water girl.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Poor Wizard, he must be in shock.

"“Can’t I just get me some fried chicken and chocolate milk?”"

Anonymous said...

I don't envy you your snowy gnomes, but it's been winter for a month and we've had nary a flake. Hardly feels like winter.