The New Norm or Our Tangled Webs ...



A hush has fallen over my immediate surroundings. Ah, the peaceful quiet serenity, or perhaps the lonely anguished recriminations. Same story, different perspectives. Our more industrious neighbors have gone off to Chiang Mai or elsewhere to supplement their farming income by selling dumplings or working construction jobs. My wife’s immediate family, all but her mother, have jumped ship as well. The sister took her ten year old to Bangkok in an attempt to show that she is capable of raising her own daughter, despite all evidence to the contrary. Also, in a spiteful tiff, the brother sent his wife to fetch the nine month old, a couple of days ago. It will be interesting to see how long this chapter drags on before the page is turned, on my wife’s family drama.

It seems, the more my wife does, in her efforts to “help” her family, the more resentful they become. It is not beneath them to receive handouts but heaven forbid the inclusion of any, preconditions or expectations. Of course the ultimate insult is to perhaps point out how much one has already done, in a vain effort to help siblings to have a better life. We are not fixated on this subject but the wife and I do have to revisit the topics of, wasted effort and lost causes, from time to time.

Perhaps unsympathetically, I point out that her family quite possibly doesn’t want what she wants for them. There is also a fair amount of guilt on her part, I believe, for having such a good life. It is hard for her to enjoy all her blessings when her family is struggling. Admirable as that might be, it is perhaps a bit naive to assume they aspire to the same things in life that she does. Intellectually, I believe she understands but her heart still feels what it feels.

Having grown up in university towns, and being the spawn of academic parents, I led a somewhat sheltered life early on. Life in Thailand has broadened the scope of my life experience and vision, while only occasionally ravaging my emotions. I have grown to accept the good and the bad that comes with life. Perhaps one day my wife will be more content with her lot in life and more accepting of the inequity she sees around her.

It became painfully clear to me, over time, that the vast majority of people in this world do little more than eat, sleep, reproduce and die. The only universal “truth” that has made itself apparent, is that all things come to an ignominious end. Be it plants, animals, people, planets or suns it all comes to the same inevitable denouement. We are an elite group, playing with our computers and making up things to worry about. Even my wife’s family is better off than most when viewed on a broader canvas. So I’m not too worried and know that this is not the final chapter in her family drama.

As is my style, there is no detail about who said what to whom. I find that kind of petty gossip rather demeaning for both the teller and the listener. Selfishly I’m glad that my wife will have more time for herself, and me of course. To start with she is on the floor, next to me, having a long overdue massage as I sit at the computer. With my massage complete, I think I shall linger here, basking in the pleasure of her presence, for just a bit longer. At the moment there truly is no place else I would rather be.



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