I didn’t experience the process as …..
Today is March fifteenth. I am still playing catch up. I don’t recall how I was going to finish that sentence. That is precisely the point where the salmon sashimi decided to swim upstream; and it turned out the tuna was also in a hurry to get back to the a more fluid environment.
Some of that cleansing process resulted in A Personal “Perfect Storm”.
The post March Forth was roughed out on the fifth. The working title was Birthday. It got long, cut in half and this is the other half.
The sixth was a profoundly interesting day. I hope to, soon, rake my memory for a few details about it.
I’m not really comfortable with folks lowering their forms as they back away bowing. It seemed to please my wife and the other wives. The guys began expressing delight as soon as it became evident that we were headed into a building with AC. That’s where I discovered that our congregation had been collected and sponsored by several silk producers. [FYI – Kalasin is one of the predominant silk manufactures in the world.] Our cooling pause there was brief. Long enough to have more pictures taken with huge bolts of fabric. I also found out that the woman in vibrant pink there, to Ponra’s left, was an old friend she hadn’t seen in years. The couple on the right is who we met at the beauty salon.
Our respite was appreciated.
There was grumbling while forging our way back into the throng; and more grumbling accompanied more waiting. Waiting for whatever it was we were to do next. We bottle-necked stage-left; from where I watched several organizational ideas rotated towards compromise. At about the same time the sweat began to seep through the silk, there was a pairing and parading across the stage. There were taped marks to guide us to bowing points. There was a rumor about doing some kind of 360 turn. I didn’t fully understand that. I attempted a swing dancing spin around with Ponra – no go! I was feelin’ frisky so I reenacted Nixon’s farewell salute – double barreled peace signs; maybe they were victory signs.
I got a cheer from the crowd
And … that was that; or so we thought! We were all marched down to a section of seats to, once again, wait for whatever was next, drink some water and have a million more pictures taken. Oh yeah! There was a less than memorable set of dance routines – kind of like Las Vegas meets kindergarten, very colorful, with feathers and LOUD!!!
There’s always time for a sweeping generality, isn’t there? >>> The Thai love very very very very loud music. Oi!
What was … eventually … next, was to go back on stage, smile and supportively flank the local politicians. I was a teeny bit restless, so I waved the hostess over and helped her understand it was my birthday.
What the heck, right?
The band was actually less deafening while on the stage and they did pause for speeches – lots of speeches. In between speeches we – the Farang Thai couples – were encouraged to dance around in a big race track shaped oval and pause on an X from time to time for more photos. At one point the guy next to me turned and muttered, “When is this going to end?” I smiled and pointed out that they hadn’t given us a gift yet. “Aaahhh! Right! The Thai version of the fat lady singing!”
Not too long after our brief exchange, we were brought back to a semblance of order. One couple at a time was led to the receiving line and each man was handed a swath of cloth. The wives then busied themselves with various styles of arrangement around hubby’s waste, although some rebels used the sash as a scarf and dabbed away merrily, blotting sweat.
Then we danced around some more. It reminded me of the game – musical chairs; only with no chairs.
More speeches and a lull.
The hostess locked her eyes on mine, sashayed over, firmly gripped my left hand and pulled me center stage. I wasn’t resisting. I just couldn’t keep pace with her. She rattled off a bunch of stuff … phom mai cow jai – I no understand; and then slowly said in English, “What is your name?” as she handed me the mike. I slowly and clearly stated my full birth name, with the crispest diction I could muster, using a moderately low octave. I was separated from ownership of my voice. It came back at me through the lights and out of the darkness. I was momentarily stunned by the phenomena. That’s was a strange moment!
The hostess was to my left and there was a guy to my right. There was quite a bit of chatter, in which I was participating. I think part of the dialogue was the translating of my Thai words into understandable Thai words. The crowd was repeatedly prodded to energetically support how young and handsome I looked. All the reverie concluded with several hundred people singing Happy Buh-day to U. (me)
Another generalization >>> I often hear our neighbors singing “Happy Buh-day, Happy Buh-day.” Seems a bit odd that they use the western tune and English words, but they do.
Then, poof, we were done and walking … it seemed like we were walking the long way back to the scooter, which was still parked at the beauty parlor. My feet were unaccustomed to my shoes, sore and tired. I had seen Ponra slip a few times. I think her high heels were a bit too big. We easily agreed to take a tuk-tuk to the scooter.
Several of our neighbors were in the crowd. Nahm Hom took a few shots with her mother’s camera and someone took a few with my camera. In addition, someone made a video of my time center stage and it made it to some TV stations. I haven’t seen the clips, but several folks have dropped by to chat with Ponra about it. mai sahm-kahn phom – not important I
I really like the sash and so does Ponra. It is a very simple black and white plaid, but does have two soft blue lines. It wraps around with plenty to spare; and, much to my delight, when completely unfurled I can wear it as a kilt.
I haven’t learned the Thai term for kilt, but they are traditional here, also.
It is ambiguously cool.
Time to do some editing ………..
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