Breaking Up

Dec 2, 2010

I’ve decided to call it quits with Rasamee. The reason for this move is the way my Thai lady friend is always asking for money whenever I stop in at the bar she works at. This despite my having paid some nine thousand baht (around $300) from our recent nights together. I realize she is on a strict budget, sending money home when she can, but have grown weary of being panhandled on every visit.

Last night’s request was especially annoying. Her recent paycheck for last month turned out to be far smaller than what she anticipated, possibly because she does not get taken out (bar fined) by the customers. (As I’ve said, she’s not bad looking at all for someone in her mid-forties, but it’s hard to compete against girls half her age.) So, could I chip in to make up the difference?

My reaction, which I chose not to share with her, was one of resentment. Why should I be on the hook because Rasamee didn’t do the math? And where does this all end?

It was time for a new approach. Rather than letting her nickel and dime me to death, I instead offered to cash all my traveler’s checks — which I will not be needing — and give her the $500, which represents almost four months of her base salary. Upon receiving the money, she’d quit her job and move back Udon Thani in time to be with her daughter and son for the holidays. The Boomerang Bar where she is employed sounds like a crappy place — exactly what one would expect to find in sleazy Pat-taya. Surely she could find more pleasant work closer to home, with my contribution making up any differences in salary. At least for the short term.

Implicit in the offer, which Rasamee quickly noticed, is a lack of a future for us. Despite my fondness for her, I’m not interested — or ready — to become entangled in relationship with a Thai. The money represents the best I can do right now. This led to one of the worse nights I’ve ever ex-perienced, both of us crying off and on. It was especially sad when I a-woke at dawn and saw her standing looking out the east window, totally silent. Later I fed her kleenex as she laid next to me and wept. I tried to comfort her, but it was difficult to make a connection. Different cultures.

For a goodbye present, I gave Rasamee a bracelet that had belonged to my mother. I’d brought it to Thailand for the express purpose of giving it to someone special. It is a way for Rasamee to remember me. More im-portant, perhaps, are the email addresses we exchanged. We can at least stay in touch.

Later…
Reflecting on the Big Breakup, I find myself feeling uneasy. Yes, I have good reasons to avoid getting serious with someone at this early stage of my Thailand life, but I’m coming to see a less-than-admirable pattern to my behavior. For the third time, I have met an attractive Asian woman, developed a comfortable relationship, then bailed out when she showed signs of becoming serious. Perhaps this fear of commitment means I am always going to be alone, unless I somehow find the courage to change.

Move over, Ebenezer!

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