Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Boy's Life

I suspect it’s true for most male expats in Southeast Asia that we live somewhat of a boy’s life; especially if one is embedded in the countryside.

More than any other time in my life -- including as a boy and then teenage lifeguard on the beaches of Bayville, 1954-1970 -- I go barefoot more often than not. When I do wear footwear, it is merely thonged sandals.

(BTW, these are the best sandals I’ve ever owned. This is actually my second pair. Unfortunately, they are no longer in style and if I get another pair, I’ll have to order from the ADDA website. But, here’s why these are so good: 1) only two pieces. The strap is part of the pad mold. The more pieces, the more potential tear; 2) the thong is well-engineered, not a simple pole of rubber, but a slim oval that fits comfortably between the big toe and the second; 3) check the pad out. It is a curved dish, providing a bumper for the feet all the way around; 4) not visible in this pic, but the pad itself is thick, allowing for a lot of spring.)

Likewise, I am shirtless for most all of the day and tan all the year’round. I’ll put a shirt on for sai baht; when I attend temple; the rare times it’s cold; and when I’m traveling, but that’s about it.

Shorts are the item of clothing I wear most often and never with underwear -- too hot. The only other things I might wear are sunglasses and/or my “cowboy” hat.

Like a kid, I don’t have too many responsibilities. I mean, I do if I choose to make them, but the ones that are mandatory are few. My wife takes care of our day-to-day logistics pretty well.

Also like a kid, I don’t worry too much about money. I don’t have a lot of it, but what I have is stable and enough for my wife and I, with a little extra to spread around. That being said, however, I must say that few foreigners could live in Thailand on my kind of budget.

At no other time, except when I was a kid in summertime, have I lived outdoors so much. Nine hours of every 14 daylight hours (during the season of the summer equinox) are spent outside structures. And, oh, the natural beauty that surrounds us!

Best of all in this “second childhood” is something you would not have in a childhood: my wife and I have our lives under our own control, to succeed or fail. It’s all on us. The only potential unknown is our health and the health of our family in the future. For this, all we can do is treat our bodies and minds well and trust in our karma and fate.

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