An Expat Christmas

Dec 25, 2010

Here it is Christmas Day and I’m sitting in my modest room in my boxer shorts, typing away at my PC with the fan aimed at me. (Actually, I’m wearing my comfy attire a day early — Boxing (Boxer?) Day is tomorrow.) What an agreeable change from a year ago when I was fighting the flu back in dark, chilly Seattle.

I celebrated Christmas Eve by having a special dinner, by myself, at a place called Bob’s BBQ and Mexican Grill up on Soi LK Metro street. (A friend introduced me to it a few years back during one of my visits. Rather strange to see a something like this in Thailand.) I’d been in a bit of a dining rut, having had chicken and fried rice the previous four evenings at the corner eatery. Not that bad, but with the waitresses becoming a little tired of me, it was time for a change of cuisine and Mexican sounded wonderful. I savored every bite. When finished, I carefully packed up the leftovers, then stopped by Canterbury Tales, a large English language bookstore a few blocks away. There I purchased a couple of paperbacks, one by Stephen King (cannot go wrong with that guy!) and another by Tony Hillerman. Simple pleasures for a simple (?) man.

After getting home, I dropped my books off and went down the street to Rasamee’s bar (Boomerang) to see what they were doing for the holiday. To my amusement, all of the girls were wearing Santa hats with flashing red lights. After I’d plopped myself down at a table, they put one on me too, which probably looked silly, but who cares? All part of the fun. I had brought my Thai writing book with me and Rasamee and her best friend ended up sitting on either side, happily critiquing my struggles with the hieroglyphic-like alphabet in return for buying them drinks. Perhaps not the best way to learn a language, but it did keep everyone entertained.

Amidst the atmosphere of shared comfort and joy, I was surprised to discover that Rasamee was “in the mood”, so to speak, pointing out it had been nineteen days since our last little tryst. (Quite a change from Seattle, where such intervals were often measured in years.) My emails a while back attempting to break things off had not been taken seriously in light of the special financial help I’ve been providing. Therefore, we should retire to my apartment for our own private celebration.

I turned her down. Anything that has the potential of bringing us closer together these days is going to be resisted. From the couple of weeks I spent being her pseudo boyfriend, I’ve discovered I’m not ready for the emotional demands of an intimate relationship with one of the natives. It’s too much, too soon for someone who has been in the country only a couple months.

My refusal was met with a friendly argument or two from my would-be lover, who did not see a little bit of holiday intimacy as any big deal —  a view I suspect my Thais share. I, however, had been raised with a more reverent attitude regarding “the act”, which means I tend to make it far more complicated than it needs to be. Fortunately, Rasamee is an easygoing person and did not overreact. I was thus able to escape home to my waiting novel (The Shining) an unmolested free man.

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