Ding dong the witch is dead

Trip Start Dec 28, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  , Phangnga,
Friday, April 8, 2011

My friend recently went out and bought an official copy of windows 7 and office 2010. This is an amazing bit of information here in Thailand since you can buy bootleg copies of said software for little more than $2.  The fact that he went out and spent a couple of hundred dollars because he didn't want any "fuck ups" is a resounding testament to his anal retentive nature.  The upside to this little useless factoid is that all of his friends have borrowed said official copy and uploaded it to their computers.  With a little help from a free “crack code” off the internet I am now sporting the new and fancy windows 7 which blows vista out of the fucking water.  Yay for me.

The sun is finally shining here in southern Thailand.  For those of you who do not follow the weather in south east Asia all that closely or have been wrapped up in little things like giant tsunami’s, nuclear meltdowns and an all new bombing campaign against more Muslims you have missed the record rainfall that had beset my little piece of earth.  It was rainy for about 6 days but literally rained nonstop for 3 days.  And when I say nonstop I mean not one minute without rain pissing down from the sky.  We got something like 40 inches of rain in 5 days.  The waves out in the similans were simply out of control and all diving was canceled for 5 days.  At one point they were looking at about 20ft swells out on the open water and there was a very real possibility of boats sinking or capsizing.  Luckily I was not out on the water when the shit hit the fan but my friends and colleagues were scared shitless and that is saying quite a bit since we all pretty much live on boats for a good chunk of the year.  Most of the south of Thailand has been designated a disaster zone and the navy had to send an aircraft carrier to rescue people off of ko tao and ko samui………bet you didn’t know Thailand had an aircraft carrier did you?

It has been quite the crazy season here at my work.  Our new boat finally is out on the water after a 4 month delay but I suppose late is better than never.  Our 3 managers who started the season and have been entrenched here for years are all gone as of this writing.  One is running from the immigration police because for two years he never renewed his visa which is a very big no-no so he is somewhere in northern Thailand hiding out.  The guy who was the Thai manager saw his duties reduced throughout the year due to complete incompetence and then as of today he just upped and quit since he saw the writing on the wall.  and then last but not least our longest serving dive guide and “trip leader” was fired for general twatery.  I will miss the first two even though they were thoroughly incompetent and an active hindrance to the dive guides doing a good job (I’m sorry for using the word incompetent twice in one paragraph but it really is the best word choice for the people I was dealing with).  They were funny and friends of mine and good people to hang out with but almost completely useless when it came to managing.  As for the trip leader who got herself fired, the best way to sum it up is that I was singing “ding dong the witch is dead” the entire day that it happened.   It takes quite a bit for me to dislike someone to the point of hatred but this woman did the trick.  Just a two faced lying shit that was covered in a slick veneer of alcoholism that annoyed and offended in a machine gun spray approach.  I truly hope she falls into a hole and pulls it over herself so we can all forget she existed in the first place…..boy that felt good to get out . 

  The dive shop is under a new manager who is very German in his efficiency and yet flamboyantly gay which I find hilarious.  Things seem to be getting turned aroundas far as customer relations and looking upon the dive staff as an asset instead of an annoyance which seems like basic common sense since we are the ones taking the people into the water but under the last management regime we were looked upon as disposable

 Alaska is looming very large on my horizon at the moment and I am NOT looking forward to it at all.  It’s not so much the work (although that is not gonna be fun either) but the weather and sleeping in a fucking tent for 3 months is what is sticking in my craw.  Do you have any idea how wet everything gets even in a quality tent when it’s been set up for a few months?  I’m thinking some milk crates to make shelves for my clothes may be in order this season along with some pallets to keep my mattress off of the wet nylon.  Sometimes I stop and look at myself and think “I’m 36 fucking years old and am living in a tent.  What the fuck am I doing?”  But again this is a means to an end and to be perfectly honest I am looking forward to living a slightly more pimpified lifestyle when I come back to Thailand after the season.  A few months in a tent is not the end of the world but it is definitely not something that I am looking forward to as the time draws near.  Thankfully I live in tropical paradise the rest of the time and have quite the kick ass job while I’m here so it kind of evens out in the end.  By the way, get used to my bitching about Alaska because after reading many of my past posts, it seems like my favorite theme whenever I am there. 

To be more positive I will state that I am looking forward to the food that I have missed over the last 2 years which sounds kind of lame I suppose but when you’ve been gone this long it really does sort of take on a life of its own.  I know taco bell and Denny’s is not technically food but oh how my heart yearns for a chalupa…..lord hear my prayer.  I am also looking forward to hopefully making a long postponed stop in Chicago.  I have been back for 1 day in the last 5 years or so, which seems a bit wrong when you write it out like that.  I am really hoping to spend a good 2-3 weeks visiting friends and family and making a general nuisance of myself.  It will definitely be a bit of a weird homecoming since many of my friends have gotten married since I last visited.  My roommate from college who I used to be really close with is getting married right around the day I will be coming into Chicago which is cool but I would still like to have hung out with him before the chains were latched onto his soul.  Now it’s going to be a bunch of couples and me…..the third wheel…..as we go out and rehash past adventures.  And that’s assuming they will be let out of the house, which given the roles that are played out sometimes with couples, is not always a given.

At the moment, out of all of my friends that I keep in touch with from high school and college there are only 3 left that are not married.  Jim boukas, the consummate pot head and general dilly dallier of life is currently engaged to his girlfriend and will be married sometime soon.  Then again Jim has been attending harper community college for the last 12 years (I’m not making this up) so he is not exactly one to keep to a tight schedule.  After Jim is Steve.  Steve is my phish tour buddy who used to be one of my many roommates in college.  I would have to list him as the most enthusiastic supporter of the keg party culture and admirer of drunken freshman girls everywhere.  Once Jim shaves his giant Amish like neck beard I’m sure he will land a pretty lady but until then he is at the head of the class for remaining unmarried.

And then there is me.  The utter personification of a life that has been carefully designed and maintained to revolve around the central tenant of hedonism.  Almost everything I do is because it seems fun, or it may feel good or it may lead to a fun time while feeling good.  In all honesty, life has been one giant party other than that small stretch of time I spent in the state penitentiary at which point the party had definitely come to an end.  I tried the straight bit….you know, 9-5 with an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.  This was directly after I got out of the army and about 6 months before I started selling drugs.  Now admittedly the drug selling thing didn’t work out in my favor and although I STILL do not have a moral problem with selling drugs, the penalties convince me not to.  But even having given up the wheeling and dealing of LSD through the Midwest I have managed to avoid really having a life of responsibility and tie downs.

 At almost 36 years of age I have no credit cards, no car or payments for a car.  There is no mortgage, no wife, no kids, and no health insurance premiums. There is no cell phone contract, no health club membership, no monthly internet bill or satellite TV.  I do not serve on juries because #1 I live in Thailand and #2 I am a convicted felon and cannot fulfill this most basic duty of a citizen.  My power bill has been $0 for the last 6 years but I have admittedly paid about $15 in water bills during this period.  In all honesty I have two bills in my life and that is my rent for my house and the rent on my motorbike.  I will be buying a motorbike when I return from Alaska so IM and I will be self-sufficient on this front.  I am truly a man who has laid out his life with as few ties into the “straight” world as possible.  I have IM and my dog and these are the closest things to positioning anchors that I have in my life.  Some people may say that living a life like this is sad and childish but I suppose that it’s all just a matter of perspective and goals.  Believe me, if you were shooting for the hedonism moon, you would want to be in my shoes and not stuck behind a computer in suburban Illinois, paying a mortgage and 2 car payments.

 I say all of this with one thought nagging at the back of my mind and that is IM.  My little Thai she devil that makes life so great and so maddening at the same time.  I am asking myself the question of whether or not I am ready to give up the life that I have so carefully cultivated over so many years to finally settle down and become………..a responsible adult (it took about a 5 minute pause before I could write those 3 words).  I’ve been weighing all of this for the last few months and my mind is tired from the seesaw action.  My sister in law actually gave me the advice to make a pro and con list.  But really doesn’t any sort of sane, premeditated lucid thought go out the fucking window when you are dealing with love?  If this is the case then the con list could have 600 entries and the pro list only listing be “love” and the pros would still win the day.  It was a nice idea but not all that helpful.

 For those of you keeping track, Mimi is doing quite well.  She is finally almost fully recovered from the brutal hair cut that IM administered a few months ago.  Talk about a chop job…..poor dog looked horrible but she is coming back to her fluffy ball of cotton self.  During all the rain she did not have the common sense to get under cover so she was constantly soaking wet for 6 days.  Had a nice mix of wet dog and mold smell going on and I didn’t see the point in giving her a bath since she was just going to run outside into the mud  5 minutes after I washed her .  She is very cute and very playful but also very stupid.  For those of you who remember her elephant attacking days I will present this as exhibit 1-A. 

I’ve never really had an emotional attachment to a dog like this before and to be perfectly candid, I always laughed at people who were a bit crazy over their dogs but now I kind of get it. I love the little furry idiot and am almost equally sad to be leaving her behind as I am to be leaving IM…..yeah yeah I know that is sacrilege to a relationship but hey, the little pug faced bastard is cute and understands my intricate levels of consciousness in a purely furry little Buddha sort of way.  It’s nice to come home to absolute and unquestioning love and excitement.  Of course there is a little extra level of excitement if I am carrying a barbequed chicken home from the market but I understand this primal programming.  It is equally impossible for her not to get overly excited by bbq chicken as it is for me not to be excited but the smile and wink of a Thai girl……it’s just hardwired man and this is something that the world just needs to understand.

It’s funny some things that never cease to put a smile on my face.  We have a 15 minute drive from the shop down to the pier and vice versa on the way back.  During this drive we pass an elephant camp that is placed near the road and in the morning they are getting ready for the tourist horde but in the afternoon it is very common to see 5 or 6 very large elephants just put out to pasture in the surrounding greenery.  America has cows grazing in the fields and Thailand has elephants.  Cracks me up to no end and I’ve been here a long time.

Ok well that is all from here for now.  I’ve talked quite a bit but really have not said all that much when you stop and read it.  I suppose sometimes I get diarrhea of the keyboard and just let flow a stream of thought that is running through my mind.  I don’t know if it’s better left untyped but here it is for the world to digest.   Thanks for reading all of this crazy crap and keep tuned in for my big arctic adventure…..this is sure to be fun???????

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