Cellphones and Thai Ladies (joking of course)
And she is ALWAYS on the cellphone! Oh, I know there are ways to put her call on hold and let me talk-- blah, blah, blah; but just forget about it. When Poom, the Light Of My Life (LOML) is on the phone it's like the walls of Jericho and it is going to take more than the sound of a bugle or a farang's lament to get those walls to come down. It sounds like I am complaining. Not really. I have figured a way around this. I simply pay perfect strangers 50 baht to make calls for me in hotel lobbies and phone booths on the street; and I have told my friends to call me at work. What I am really getting at here is what the devil is she talking about? She is on the phone all the way to work, she is on the phone at work, and she is on the phone all the way home, and she is on the phone in the house and in the kitchen and in the bathroom and yes, in the bed. I instituted a rule early in our relationship that there would be no incoming or outgoing calls after 8 PM so that we could luxuriate in being a couple. She agreed. So now she discovers that we need something at the Minimart, she's actually making phone calls outside at night. Or when she thinks I am asleep she hides in the bathroom and makes calls. What the hell is she talking about? Think I'm being silly? Well, consider this:-
She can't be talking about Buddhism, she isn't a practicing Buddhist.
She can't be talking about cooking, she doesn't cook.
She can't be talking about Thai or international politics, she can't find Thailand on a world map.
She can't be talking about family, she doesn't have one. I thought I was the family (mistake).
and. . .
She can't be taking about Art or Philosophy or Literature or Classical Music or Chemistry or Biology or Physics or Mathematics or Aesthetics or Molecular Theory or Darwinism or Astronomy or Plate Tectonics or World history or Psychiatry or Medical Theories or the Green Revolution in Agriculture or the History of Thailand (no idea and no interest) or the Film Industry or the Theory of Flight or the Textile Industry or Legal Theories or Civics or Fashion.
She couldn't find any of these things in a dictionary. Hell, she couldn't find a dictionary. I have never once seen her read a book or a magazine or a newspaper. She is completely devoid of curiosity and intellect of any and all kinds. If she had to use her brain synapses to start a fire the earth would turn into a cold cinder. I was once treated to her talking on her cell phone for 40 minutes (I'll tell you about it in a minute). How is that possible? She doesn't know anything and she isn't really doing anything and none of these calls have anything to do with me or with us (I'm not that big a fool) and she doesn't want to know anything about anything. I have never heard her express an opinion about anything. I have never heard her ask a question about anything. I have never seen her intellectually surprised or disappointed about anything. So WHAT THE HELL IS SHE TALKING ABOUT?
Let's consider the Normandy Invasion of World War II, the greatest invasion in the history of the world. An invasion that involved hundreds of ships and thousands of men and millions of dollars and the concerted efforts of individuals and peoples and ideas all over the world. Due to the Freedom of Misinformation Act here in the United States the teleconferencing call between Eisenhower and his staff that planned the whole invasion is now a matter of public record: It goes like this:-
Eisenhower to Staff-- "Get the men. Get the boats. Lots of ammo. Not much food - most of the men won't make it one mile inland. Wait for clear weather. Shove off. Pray to God."
That's it. That's Eisenhower on the phone planning the whole Normandy Invasion. I timed it - 20 seconds. Twenty seconds to plan the greatest invasion in the history of the world. A man and a phone. Actually, the part about the food and the men not really needing much because they were not going to get more than one mile inland before they became heroes isn't strictly speaking necessary. But Ike was one of those compulsive detail managers and kind of a chatty guy so the planning of the D Day invasion took 20 seconds by phone. My Poom (LOML) was once on the phone for forty minutes and nothing got planned. We were in Chiang Mai and I had booked us on an all day trip from the Chiang Inn to the Doi Suthep temple. The Doi Suthep temple sits on top of a mountain and the trip up the mountain is fabulously scenic and a lot of fun. White guys and white girlfriends do the trip up the mountain on bikes and others use motorcycles and I had the Poonster and I in the back of a black air-conditioned Mercedes Benz (500 baht for all day - how does that work economically?). Anyway, as the car started the scenic trip up the mountain Poom's phone rang. She answered it. She talked for the next forty minutes. It was Bang from Bangkok (Yeah, I know it looks unlikely - but it really was a woman named Bang from Bangkok. At least her name wasn't Kok.). And how exactly does that technology work? Is there a 10,000 foot cell tower half way between BKK and Chiang Mai? Anyway, one of the reasons I had taken Poom (LOML) to Chiang Mai was so that we could have some couple' time - some bonding time, etc. Bang called from Bangkok. Poom (LOML) talked for the next forty minutes! Did I say Forty Minutes? She completely missed the scenic and fun car trip up the mountain and she was still talking on the phone when we got to the top of the temple complex. She had talked as we walked around the first terrace and she had talked as we walked around the second terrace and she talked as we climbed the lovely and unusual stairs and she only shut up when we got to the top where we were surrounded by incense and flowers and monks. So basically I took a trip to the Doi Suthep temple alone and she took a trip to the Doi Suthep temple with her cell phone. Now don't misunderstand me. I understand that due to some weird chromosomal makeup that women have a constant unremitting need to bond with other women. I get it. I see it all around me. But what the hell are they talking about? In the time Poom (LOML) was on the phone with Bang in Bangkok, Eisenhower could have planned 120 invasions (do the math). I once made the mistake after one of these phone marathons of asking my little Thai princess what she and her friend were talking about. "Oh, nothing." she said. I believe it. I just don't know how she does it. Since neither she or her friend actually have any ideas; I have developed the theory that they are just playing verbal scales - you know, reciting the alphabet to each other in different tones or at different speeds or maybe backwards (Naw, too hard). Think I'm exaggerating. OK, you figure it out. If your girlfriend from Udon with the dark, dark skin and the elegantly skinny arms has the brains of a parrot and my Poom (LOML) with the brown eyes and the small waist has the brains of a soi dog and they are talking to each other (remember, it is a parrot talking to a soi dog); WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT? If you get this figured out, call me; no, wait a minute - that won't work. Write it down, tie it to a rock, and throw it through my window!
You might ask since I don't speak Thai how I can know what the girls are talking about on the phone. Good question. And the answer is that I don't know what they are talking about. But I do know what they can NOT be talking about (see above extremely partial list) because I have been in the trenches with Poom (LOML) for two years. And believe me when I tell you that if you could fold paper airplanes small enough you could fly them around inside her skull. Nothing. Zippo. Nadda. Goose Egg. There is nothing up there. If I tap her head the dog starts barking. He thinks someone is at the door.
When I first met Poom (LOML) two and half years ago in the Nana Hotel parking lot she thought a paradox was two piers in a harbor, and she was saving money on birth control by only taking every other pill. I thought it was innocence and charm. Recently I have ripped the S section out of my dictionary so that I won't have to see the word Stupid. When I first spotted her in the parking lot she was wearing a T-shirt that said HOOKERS DO IT WITH HOOKS. What? I thought it was innocence and charm.
Let's consider what else Poom (LOML) can't be talking about WWI or WWII (ah heck, name any war)
The need for fiscal restraint and time management (white people talking - she zones out)
How to read a train, plane, or bus schedule (she asks the monks for help)
A modern nations need for oil (oil is what others cook with - she doesn't cook, remember?)
Macro and Micro economic theories (she only uses macro and micro when referring to scorpions)
International Time Zones ("Where is International in Thailand?")
Celestial Navigation (if you want to know where you are, you ask monks)
Theories of Child Development (apathetic)
Manufacturing Techniques (BORING)
Slate roofs in Cologne, Germany ("Is Cologne in Laos? Laotians are Pigs!")
United Nations charity work in Thailand (doesn't give a rat's ass)
The fact that the King was born in America (farang lie)
The cultures of contiguous-to-Thailand countries like Burma and Laos and Cambodia or countries further afield like Vietnam or China (no concept of being Asian - there are Thais and foreigners)
Carbon Dating (she ain't dating no Carbon, unless he has more money than me)
DNA (she's really snoring now)
Crop Rotation (she thought crop rotation was holding rice seeds in your hands while you were on a Ferris wheel)
OK, it's a long list; and after a while it can look like piling on. No need to be a bully. But wait a minutesome of the line items are noteworthy:
The concept and value of Punctuality (not even a glancing blow)
The long odds on ghosts actually existing (only a stupid farang would question ghosts)
The name of Thailand's Prime Minister (no clue)
The fact that the Moon revolves around the Earth and that the Earth revolves around the Sun ("Do the farangs have a moon?")
Futility of buying lottery tickets when the lottery is crooked (unconcerned - "You're making my head hurt!")
So she's not a modern person. That's not her fault. Let's not be unfair. She is Thai and that is as good and as special as being anything else. So that means she can do Thai arts and crafts, right? Dream on.
Lacquerware - no knowledge and no interest. I have been to the factory and made the purchases.
Silverware - only interested if it is free farang gift - and gold that can be pawned is better.
Basket weaving (what, are you nuts? - she doesn't even cook)
How about museums and galleries and zoos and botanical gardens and city parks (Nope and Nope and Nope and Nope and Nope. BORING)
OK, lets try umbrella making or the furniture factory or Gemopolis or the Teak house or the Palace. Nah, it's me again who takes an interest and knows about this stuff. I just love it when the Thais tell farangs that we don't know anything about Thais or Thailand or Thai culture. Really? Want to put it to the test?
So, when your girlfriend (the parrot) and my girlfriend (the soi dog) are talking on and on and on clutching their cellphones - WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT? And another thing, Oops - I just heard a rock crash through my window. I've got a call coming in. Catch you later.
Count yourself lucky that you don't understand what they're talking about. Trust me, 90% of the time it is totally inane.