Posted on Face Book June 1 and TT
Used in Issue 10 Posted on Face Book June 1 and TT
Culture Shock… Not a hospital story
By Dr. I.B. Agnostic
I had been dozing in my crib trying to recover enough from surgery to go home when a proctologist darted into my room accompanied by my ward’s head nurse. The proctologist leaned over my bed and suddenly started reciting the history of the prostate gland as modern medicine understands it and a history of old men as they relate to me and my suspected enlarged prostate gland. The Doc told me that it had been reported to him that I wasn’t peeing like I should…. a sure sign that I was in deep trouble.
He shrugged toward the head nurse so I would know it was she I was to thank for saving my life. I looked over at her not to confirm or to challenge her report but to get another gander at her superb good looks and to remind myself that I was a patient in a fine private Thai hospital. She was enthused with my gander so I got the expected all white tooth return smile. The Doc was prattling on none stop while he was trying to convince me of an urgent need to have my prostate checked with a hint that some serious procedure would follow no matter his findings.
I politely excused the fine doctor and then I excused him again and finally on the third firm and final dismissal he got the hint, turned on his heel and paraded out of the room with my nurse right behind as if they had been glued together all along… No smile this time.
Later that day a Cardiologist visited my room with some exciting news about my heart. According to him my heart needed some shock treatment to cure an irregular arrhythmic heart beat. In way of explanation he said my irregular heart beat had not been detected on the EKG during my initial exam in the Emergency room the morning before my surgery nor had it been detected on the EKG following my surgery but had shown up on some other piece of machinery someplace else in the bowels of the hospital. I sent this guy away too. He left on my first wave off. He must have known better than to follow a proctologist.
After the cardiologist and his nurse left the room I spent a few minutes trying to understand what had just been fostered onto me by two rogue members of the medical staff. This kind of brazen behavior would not be tolerated in the western world and it was possibly swaying on the fringes of a medical malpractice lawsuit had I been in an American hospital. I realized I was woozy there and had to stop thinking like a westerner and to look at this from a Thai’s perspective if I wanted peace of mind.
Although window shopping has caught on in the big cities of Thailand the practice isn’t even heard of in the little towns and villages that make up most of Thailand. If you look into a shop house of any kind in the village the merchant looking back at you from inside will be convinced you are there to buy something and he is of course there to sell you what you need plus more. Why would he sit in that dingy hardware store all day just so you can window shop? If you aren’t buying go away.
I have been buying from the same noodle lady for years. She knows I buy the same assortment of things everyday and yet she always tries to sell me something more every time I poke my head under her umbrella. She never gives up.
Several months ago a farang friend confided in me that he wanted to marry his twenty-five year old girl friend because she really loves sex. He said that she can’t get enough sex and for that reason he wanted to marry her even though he knew he was already half way through his autumn years and was now looking down in the only direction he could go. I thought it was decent of him to want to marry her because it was she who wanted to continue to have good sex but I held my council and allowed him his adventure. He married his nymphet and soon found out he had been window shopping in the big city and what he bought from the stock room wasn’t what he had seen displayed in the shop window.
I had busted my hip and my orthopedic surgeon had been assigned to stitch me back up. He was the one who was interested in my recovery. The proctologist and cardiologist were just the guys in the hardware store and noodle shop trying to sell more of their product. Why else would I be lingering in a ward flat on my back if it wasn’t interested in buying something more?
960 Words. 725, 763, 650, 598, 597, 750, 749, 794, 818, 820, 826
Poaching is poaching.
My wife owns a fair amount of property. She has 2,000 rubber trees growing on the high ground which provide her pocket money, a couple of rice paddies that provide her sisters and she enough rice for the year, a garden that provides good vegetables for trading with neighbors and she has a fish pond large enough to sustain a school of fish in the deep water and a flock of ducks along its surface. The pond is for the harvesting of ducks and fish as needed for consumption. Around the edge of the pond are several nice places in the shade that are perfect for calling a “fishing” spot.
On one of our frequent visits I noticed that a Farang* of middle age had made himself comfortable in one of those shaded fishing spots I have mentioned. He looked so comfortable wetting his line in my pond that at first I thought I was looking at a mirage of myself spending the day hauling in the families dinner instead of looking at an interloper who was now taking from my family what he wanted for his.
To investigate I made my way through the maze of wire and traps so installed around the pond as to discourage those who would enter thus to feed themselves free from my wife’s labors. I wanted to see who this brazen chap was. Drawing in close to my quarry we each exchanged greetings. I pulled up another wicker stool and sat next to this fellow in an effort to pantomime a friendly mood though what I proffered as “friendly” was poorly delivered and would have fallen flat footed about the feet of real thespians had there been any about. </p>
We both knew I was there merely to pretend friendship whist delving into his personal life unencumbered by any suspicion on his part. We exchanged names of course, and pretended for some few minutes to be enjoying each other’s company. But time was turning sour. He had landed two more pan fish and was suddenly turning jaundice by pretending that it had always been his practice to throw his catch back as he did now in front of me.
Suddenly as a diversion my new neighbor suggested, “Come on up to the house for a beer and meet the wife.”
That would be nice, I mulled over in my mind, ‘A chance to breach his wall, down a few of his beers and to ogle his trophy wife.’
I said after a short pause, “Sure”.
It is a cultural thing
Thai women walk three paces behind their men. I’ve asked why but have received no plausible answer. All I get is a shrug of the shoulders and a non committal stare. It’s hard to tell what the ladies are thinking. Those big dark eyes don’t give up too much. You have to figure it out for yourself.
At first I thought their bringing up the rear was a cultural thing… being subservient to the master. But after a few years living here I have learned that we are by far not the master. So there must be another reason.
Maybe they are keeping an eye on the back pocket. That makes sense. For all they know all the money in the world is stored back there. They are just keeping it secure and in the family.
Or maybe by bringing up the rear they can look ahead into the battle field strewn with incoming Thai ladies with intent to board you and to bilge her.
Or perhaps, your young lass is allowing for a slack line so she may troll from side to side looking for greener pastures she knows are out there.
Or, I just don’t know.
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