:1/31--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


more snow. beautiful but cold. between that and my lack of a computer (and thus music, movies, internet surfing, job hunting....) i had nothing at all to do today.

:1/30--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


cire was unusually morose today in his nightly phone call to me, and it was rather contagious. i let him get drunk as i listened. we both have a strange obsession with novelty, we're both impulsive, we both expect so much out of life. i think it is really hard for people like us to fake normality like we need to do in the US. i tried to explain we need to try to enjoy real life too, but i wasn't sure who i was trying to convince, him or myself.

i rented a video tonight and tried to watch it downstairs. almost immediately two hostel people came into the room and started conversing at the top of their lungs between me and the tv. i felt murderous.

:1/29--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

death of laptop

my computer died for good today, probably helped along by my beating it mercilessly. i called the company and they said i have one week to get it in to get fixed, even though it is still under warranty for another 2 months. i scrambled to the post office to steal packing materials and got it ready to send off, and then sat on my bed staring sadly into space as if i had just lost a child.

:1/28--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

dusk in boulder

these days in boulder are not so inspiring. i could write about the snow. or the job boards. or my freelance project building a site about cancun. or my new asian pen pals, or the 2nd harry potter film i watched, or... well, and so on. i feel rather listless about my journal, and in fact i am writing this entry on feb. 8th, so having to go back so far and update is just daunting and annoying. thus i shall keep it short and to the point. i did nothing interesting today.

:1/27--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



slept late today and ot was grumbly and suspicious on the phone as to why i had slept so late. i ignored him and apathetically applied to every job i could find on the job boards, as usual. today though i saw an ad for some basic html help for a guy named mark. i wrote him and said "yeah, i'll do your little project, $25/hour". he wrote me back and said "please, you are way overqualified and your rate is too low. but i do have another opportunity for you..." turns out he works as an information architect for qwest communications. and he needs a 3rd information architect on his team. he insisted they pay about 3-4 times the rate i'd quoted him, and i licked my lips and said "i'm in". i fantasized (and possibly thereby jinxed myself) the rest of the day about setting otto up with a business in thailand, handing his family a few thousand baht, getting 'x' set up with a fat pad in NY, paying all my taxes up, and living it up in a new condo downtown. not to mention travelling for the rest of my life after a year of slavery. hmmph. i'll have to study up on information architecture first though.

later after a quick session in the computer section of barnes and noble, i decided to treat myself to a good dinner from whole foods. i neglected to notice that the salmon i purchased was smoked, to my later revulsion. with fingers smelling of fish and a belly full of nast i slumped onto my bed and watched 'bowling for columbine'. wow- the statistics in that movie blew me away. america has got to be the most paranoid place on earth. we really should kill our televisions.

:1/26--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


terrified of running out of money today, i twiddled my thumbs anxiously over my laptop. i found a thai job board and applied to anything remotely related to what i do, probably to no avail. the obvious first rule of getting work in thailand is reading and speaking thai. argh. otto called me, saying he is a rich man now, and if i come back he will support me. i am not that stupid, but it is a little teeny bit tempting.

i spent the night bawling to myself over the movie about the artist frida kahlo ('frida'). she was very obsessed by her pain, and she lived so much of it (a lot of which hit pretty close to home), but still she was able to create beauty. i wish i had something so amazing in my head.

:1/25--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

more snow out my window

lazy sunday. the snow is nice. outside is white like antarctica. i am keeping an eye out for polar bears. my room is hot and oven-like, just how i like it. my computer is playing thai news radio, i am still trying to learn the language even though it is basically futile. i have an urge to fuck everything and run back. given my nature, that would not be far fetched. outside are frat people. and sorority people. sororifrats. drinking, yelling, sliding down their rooftops into snowdrifts with flustered cheeks. mountains looming icecastles. i have been dodging any sort of humanity in my little cave for days. vampirish, witch-like. i am starting to feel like a relic of something, dusty with cobwebs. writing, reading, a.m. homes- subtlely twisted and eloquent. i give too much away in my writing. i don't have the wit to be mysterious and...other. craving beer, not the taste really but the warm friendliness. the prodding towards smiling apathy. the easy relationship. maybe instead i'll sleep. it's a good day for sleep and dreaming. my dreams have been full of awkward sexual situations and overeating. maybe today i will dream about shopping or flying to mars.

:1/24--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

upside down in NY

'x' calls me today and says "are we not human? why is it we are always on the edge?" and he's right. both of us- no matter the effort we put into being "normal", people can sense that we are not and steer clear. it's a brand, a scent we give off. "the hostel people were nice to me all day but then they all went out together and left me sitting there", he says. i picture him smiling hopefully as they walk out the door. 'x' who is the most generous, loyal friend i have ever had. i have nightmarish flashes of high school, of my entire life in america, for that matter. it's redundant, this being a monster, an outsider, a fence-sitter. underneath we are all the same. americans don't like differences, they don't like people who can see through them, they don't like optimism and freedom. sometimes i think 'x' and i are just too big. too hungry. the hipsters with their flippant hairstyles and shiny cellphones, their competitive conversations and sly sideways glances, their boisterous joking and insecure pettiness. who do they think they are? 'x' and i can fit their little lives snugly inside the pinky toes of any of our successive lives. to them i say stop being small, open your head, set yourself free.

:1/23--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

american grafitti 2

someone told me i should love my country, as if territory means anything. the earth is all ours, an enormous, beautiful mother with endless facets to uncover. why would i marry myself to one little spot, just because society says i should? i don't belong here anyway, this country of reality tv shows, new cars, plastic houses, media gossip, rampant religion, laws like tripwires, politicians like nightmares. there is no love here for me. someone said why do i come back to leech off of it then, and i shake my head disgustedly. borders should be open. people should be free. but can someone give me any evidence of that in real life? i am a slave to my country. the only thing i am grateful for is that i am a well paid slave. and i am smart enough to find my way out of the maze some day, into the home i really want.

:1/22--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

my cave

my computer screen died a tormented death first thing this morning and i almost followed shortly thereafter. it fell sleepily into complete whiteness, and stayed that way no matter how many times i rebooted and called it sweet names. i ran downstairs clutching my hair in my hands and begged the resident computer geeks to save me. to my relief they sold me a $10 external monitor and all was well.

unable to spend money and thus reluctant to leave the house, i spent all day burning out my retinas on the new monitor, making spam templates for some insurance company to annoy people to death with in email. it's almost like sponsoring a product you would never buy. i feel guiltless though as my (freelance) project manager prepaid me for 25 hours of work and i have set my mind towards justifying it.

later i considered a trip to one of the local bars on the hill alone, but too many people fail to be surreptitious in their staring. almost better to just get a six pack and hole up in my room. instead i compromised, and watched the discovery channel downstairs while the other occupants of my house cooked elaborate, good smelling dinners and laughed loudly from the kitchen. i tried the new guacamole doritos, bright green, and felt slightly radioactive. the tv told me how to stop pain. it showed a hypnotised man oblivious to the thick needles pushed into his skin. your mind can do anything. it also showed me how our sense of vision is so complex that we size up our surroundings in a split second without even noticing we are noticing. how much you really see is up to you.

i went to bed and dreamt that the world had turned upside down and i was still right side up.

:1/21--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

american dog

a year ago otto kidnapped me and thus began our whirlwind romance- much maligned and misunderstood by the general population, including myself at times. i called him to say happy anniversary and he just grunted. i sighed, suspecting he wasn't alone, and hung up. he has managed to do really well since i left with his latest venture, and makes an average of 1500 baht a day now (rich by thai standards)... i must be lucky only to 'x'. maybe he doesn't need me anymore. later i realized i was wrong about the date anyway.

i got 3 calls about 3 jobs this morning which all paid in the range of $50-60/hour. I felt dreamily optimistic at the time but i am not stupid enough to hold my breath. i am insanely focused, like a tiger listening for stirring outside my lair. any sign of a job and i am on it. this means i spend too much time in my desk chair in front of my laptop though, clutching my cellphone, and have lots of headaches.

my old friend chris drove to boulder to see me today, a nice respite. in 6 years he has lost almost all of his hair. i called him q-tip, before i realized he was really sensitive about it. his band is getting a lot of notice, he is a superstar bassist. it helps that he is working on his master's in music theory. chris has a history of random psychosis, and once tried to kill 'x' and i with a tire iron and butcher knife. those were in the decadent drug days though, and somehow i still love him. i manage to dodge traces of weirdness and compulsive lies with no hard feelings. we reminisced for hours slouching together over our automatically refilling beers at the local brewery.

in gossiping over old acquaintances, i realized that almost every one of my old "pals" is now married with kids and a house, etc. yikes. even the ones i didn't think had it in them.

sarah, another friend from the same era, called and we both went to meet her at the boulder dushanbe teahouse (from which 'x' and i once stole a complete teaset on a dare). sarah is about 5'5" and must weigh about 350 pounds, a product of a narcissitic and impulsively greedy personality, but she is also very funny and odd. she introduced us to her fiance, who was 6'5" and about 100 pounds, which made them a laughably stereotypical characature. they seem really happy, and kissed each other goodbye as we left. sarah dragged chris and i moaning in her car to what can only be described as a redneck bar (where she often goes to karaoke). the waitresses all had feathered hair and pantyhose. the men had pot bellies and beards. the beer was good though, and so were the buffalo wings we reminisced and talked music over. later chris begged off and sarah dragged me to longmont, a countrified suburban wasteland where she lives in a nondescript apartment complex made of that same plastic siding as almost every other identical complex in this totally lacking in imagination state. she introduced me to her unfriendly dog, i looked around at framed pictures and homemade crafts, she wrote me out a wedding invitation, and though i love sarah and think it is reciprocated, i felt really damned alien.

thankfully she wanted thai food so sarah took me to a nondescript place with fairly decent eatin', called thai kitchen. i sipped tom yam and flirted with the muscle-y though americanized thaiboy waiter as she downed her noodles. by the end of the night i realized it's true- you really can't go home again. at least when your rate of change seems so hyped up in comparison with your home-mates.

:1/20--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

snowy snow snow
i had an interview this afternoon with the only real web-related company in boulder (that i know of anyway). i looked out my window upon waking to see that it had picked the only day i had to go out of the house to be of blizzardlike conditions. i grumbled and dressed myself in about 18 layers for the trip. i have never been in boulder before (except for one short trip back from san fran) without a car- it is definitely a car culture here. not only do i hate waiting in snowdrifts up to my chin for an inevitably late bus which inevitably drops me off far far away from where i really need to be, but i greatly dislike the other people who don't have cars. the students are okay, but the unemployed jesus freak behind me who was trying to convert the whole bus, and the homeless guy carrying 8 bags of smelly trash next to me were not. the bus drivers aren't much better, and philosophize monotonously on various shallow topics en route to our destination. i remembered that the average american is the master of the obvious and plugged my ears snobbishly, a la 'x'.

in smaller american towns there is a certain pretension about people. maybe a napoleanic complex of sorts. every company i have ever worked for in boulder has had a fascist code of ettiquette, and a strict set of lingo. if you deviate in the least from it you are ostracized and gossiped over. these are little people with little lives (in my tired opinion) and the jobs are always sort of laughably below my skill level and experience. i have even worked in places in which you had to raise your hand and ask to go to the bathroom. today, since i didn't chuckle at the interviewer's joke about a ski accident and i missed a cue in a sidenote about city politics (who gives a crap?), i spent most of my interview trying to interpret meaningful looks between the two boys in the room who were drilling me and at the same time ignoring everything i said. ugh. i really could have done the job well, but the building was stifling, the people superficial, the projects dry and uninspiring, and for god's sake they refused to even tell me what the salary was. i shrugged and left and wrote them a follow up letter later politely telling them to stuff their job.

which means i am going to new york. sometime soon. i paid a week more on my hostel room though until i get things situated and see if 'x' can keep his superman job.

:1/19--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

see i'm not always lazy
american food is not so good as i remembered, though i suppose that's because i can't really cook where i am (not that i don't have a kitchen, i just can't afford ingredients). my diet consisted mainly of oatmeal cream pies, hostess cakes, salt and vinegar chips, and microbrewed beer for the first week or so. then i went into the healthy organic phase of salads, cheese, muesli with fruit, and turkey sandwiches with dijonaisse. but i am over it now and i am back to craving my morning fried fish and somtam with ot. i really have to try and not think about it, because as 'x' pointed out, i am about as far away from thailand as i can get, in every sense of the word right now. but the sad nostalgia creeps in nonetheless.

i reworked my portfolio page and resume with a few new embellishments and some clever rewording (borrowed from cire) and hacked away at the job boards today, in desperate hope for rapid employment. the more money the more honey, and sooner.

:1/18--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

behind my house
an absolute zombie today in front of my computer, looking for work on every inch of the web. i am quite jealous of 'x''s recent success, but as he reminds me it took him over 3 months to achieve it and i have been here only 2 weeks.

i did finally escape in the evening and went to see 'big fish' in the theater with a dairy queen blizzard on my lap. it was a surreal, dreamy movie which happened to be exactly what i didn't need. tim burton has a great design sense but i don't think he is the best of directors. this was one of his better films but it was still rather mediocre... still, a tear or two plopped into my ice cream as the father started to fade away, and later i enjoyed the solitary bus ride home in the frosty dark night.

:1/17--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

american grafitti 1
two things i am glad to have back in my life are juxtapoz art magazine and savage love. for those of you who don't know of dan savage, he is a sex columnist from san francisco, and a flaming homo, but one with a lot of interesting and funny things to say on the subject. anyway both his column and juxtapoz's editorial column had some really interesting comments on criticism this week, and how you have to expect it whenever you do anything. first, i have to wonder why that is- is it that you can't please everyone all the time or is it that people are just jealous of any sort of success?... they seem to have grown out of the stage where they cared, and as robert williams mentioned, criticism now feels to him like "the tap of a dull butter knife on the heel of my boot". to me, it's almost complimentary. it means i have made someone think about something to the point where they have a passionate response... and the best thing you can do for people is to make them feel. anyway i am still trying to write a book but my biggest blockage has been the thought of what my critics would say about my ability. but i think i may be on the verge of getting over it.

'x' packed up and left me on a jetplane for NY today with a lot more time to miss the people i love. but at least i got to move into his room, which has two windows and a double bed, and a faster phone line. no matter how often we leave each other, it always feels like an umbilical cord being cut.

:1/16--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

70's porn mags that someone inexplicably dropped outside my door
it was cold today and that makes me grouchy. even worse, the bar i picked to cire's scoffing bewilderment had changed from the dimly lit funhouse of yore to a sawdust-on-the-floor country whore bar. we drank huge glasses of fat tire and got the hell out. the next place we went was an improvement, though not upon memory of it. 'x' and i used to frequent the catacombs, which has good beer specials and usually old jazz music, but seems to have become something of a meat market nowadays. we sat on a comfy couch in the corner and watched a girl with a poochy belly and short legs get hit on by dick swinging meatheads. the conversation was typically inane. i had a fit of curious hysteria in repeating a funny story about my friend karma in nepal to cire. sometimes my bottlenecked brain overflows...there is a line i cross when i laugh too hard that makes me a little insane. 'x' was embarassed at my tears and we moved to another room. we argued vociferously over our respective sexual opinions and failed to notice the cash flying out of our hands while the beer glasses flowed in. finally stumbled out of the bar at closing time along with all the other drunk students and shivered in the cold night waiting for our bus up the hill.

:1/15--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

picture from my calendar


another interview lined up today in boulder, and another guy called me with tons of freelance work. the only thing i can figure is that the people on the craigslist job boards who say they can't find work for the past three years must be morons? yikes. anyway if this interview pans out i could possibly stay in boulder, which would be an enormous relief to me, but there is much more cash to be made in NY and thus i won't hold my breath. i do have a secret fantasy about living in a cozy victorian house in the foothills near the creek, with a garden and a doggie, learning guitar, doing yoga in the park, oogling college kids on the hill, reading poetry in an anonymous corner of a coffeeshop... but the relative novelty of that wouldn't last long... it's also just so easy here. none of that NY hype and pretension... we'll see.

'x' and i went to the bookstore to look up things with which to prop up our skillsets. i actually love the challenge of having to learn something new on the spot. i am completely self-taught in my line of work, and i have never failed to live up to what i say i can do, even if at first it takes me a little while and a bit of bullshitting.

thailand is fading away like i knew it would. not that i am betraying myself already but at least it isn't a nagging pain in my heart right now, i am too busy to think too much about it. only when ot calls me with poignant pleas and sad reminiscing from the khao san road party do i feel frustrated about being here instead of there.

:1/14--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

me in my rainbow hat- a parting gift from ot


'x''s plan to haul us both off to NY vaguely unsettles me, though i am trying not to let on. i don't know if it is the fact that i feel like i was getting off easy with my comfy room in comfy boulder and a stack of projects to do and get paid for, or if it is just that NY is so daunting (it's loud, dirty, pretentious and exhausting in addition to being cool). there is also the fact that after supporting another person for the past year and bitching about it, i might have a bit of humility to face if i don't find one of those ridiculously well paying jobs 'x' seems to get fairly soon. i really wouldn't want him to support me (translation: turn me into a slave). though we would miss having each other around, i am sure. i went into a mad frenzy of job searching online this afternoon, until my eyes dried out like raisins in my sockets and the angle of my neck in relation to my head is i fear perpetually altered. i'll let fate take it's course as usual.

:1/13--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

mountains behind my house




supermarket excess


boulder is cold and dry and patterned in shades of gray and brown. the open spaces shadowed by looming mountains give me strange uncomfortable nightmares along the lines of planet of the apes, which always terrified me as a kid with it's desolate landscapes (and of course the ape people). it's silly since i spent a lot of my life here. it's the closest thing i have to home in america.... but it's not home really at all. i believe i was born on the wrong continent.

though at one point i felt about boulder as i do now about thailand. it's strange how people, places, and things come and go in your life. i have had so many successive lives, you would think i'd be a pro at sloughing things off by now.

a trip on the bus to king soopers made me dizzy- all the long aisles packed with so many different varieties of whatever you could possibly want. why do they have 10 brands of milk? milk is milk isn't it? ot would be totally flabbergasted to see an american supermarket. they have a couple of them in thailand but i doubt he has ever set foot into one.

'x' always says i am good luck for him, and he knew as soon as i got here he'd get a job. sure enough, a recruiter called me right as i was looking at the job he was pitching online. it was describing 'x' exactly and i knew at that moment it would be his. so i referred him, he interviewed on the phone, and voila- he is once again an extremely well-paid executive. i feel secretly jealous, i wish my luck would work for ME for once!!!! he has to pack up and get to new york by monday of next week.

feeling sort of discouraged and bitter, and missing otto and thailand like a crucial limb, i trudged to the sink after 'x' for a couple of healing drinks. the sink is done up in all sorts of cartoony murals from head to toe, and the staff is all pleasing to the eye. coincidentally, one of my projects is designing their website. i became drunk rather quickly. 'x' is my best friend and he never fails to cheer me up. we snapped pictures of the walls to the irritation of one tightassed frat boy working at the bar. and we got some pizza after the beers & i remembered there are some good things about america.

:1/12--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ducks in boulder creek




winnie the pooh statue at library

i met up with the guy from flatirons internet services, who seems swamped with work and wanted to pass some of it off to me, which is a-ok with me. he is paying me well and the work is pretty standard. gotta love those work at home deals- i adore designing in my undies with my candles burning, music playing, snacks lined up on my desk. i feel incredibly lucky actually that i landed the first project i interviewed for- maybe i won't have to suffer this time like i usually do when i return "home". 'x' also picked up a project for us on the side, to do under our (x) umbrella. we plan to become incorporated and try ourselves out as an agency, so if anyone needs some web work done contact us! we kick ass!

i got excited the other day when i passed a thai restaurant that served somtam, laarb, tom yam, and all my other faves. today 'x' and i popped in for a taste. argh. i should have known better. the thai girl behind the counter was authentic but that was about it. maybe it's hard to get the correct ingredients over here, but that is no excuse for flavorless vittles. :(

we also stopped by the boulder library, which is maybe my favorite place on earth. it's a big airy, sunny building right at the foothills, surrounded by gardens and streams. they even have an art gallery and a coffee shop inside. we sat by the creek and watched the ducks chase fishies under the freezing water, and 'x' waited an hour for an interviewer to call- he never did.

:1/11--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

picture of aged superheros from my juxtapoz magazine

in a way i enjoy this limbo state. knowing that money is probably forthcoming, having definite goals, feeling motivated, being somewhere new and having to survive on what i arrived with, nostalgic reminiscing about the place i just came from. i have always told myself it's best to like where you are.

my private room at the hostel house is cozy. a little too cozy sometimes as i am a freak about turning the heat all the way up (i made this poor old man dig up an electric heater for me at midnight a couple of nights ago). i have internet access and a fridge and microwave stocked with my favorite american goodies. not so bad. i bought the books i couldn't get in asia, i actually understand the conversations around me, they have real coffee and microbrewed beers, independent movies and pop art. urban outfitters. interesting buskers on pearl street, like the zip code man, who rides a unicycle and can tell you where in the world any zip code you throw out at him is... everyone in boulder is a health nut, and it is hard to find food that is NOT organic, soy-based, fat free. people run up the hills, climb the mountains, raft the rivers. there is a progressive, liberal vibe that i have always related to, though it becomes ridiculously clique-ish and sometimes fanatic here. i even have old friends here, though i haven't yet bothered to look them up. anyway it's a good place to be and i can't complain.

spent a halfhearted 4 hours looking for work anywhere in the country.

:1/10--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

me through 'x''s beer glass at the sink

in america when i get bored i revert back to the materialistic yearnings ingrained from birth into my countrymen. i rarely follow up on them, thankfully, but at this point it is rather frustrating that i couldn't do so even if i wanted to. i spent today window shopping on pearl street mall, which is lined with hippie and yuppie shops of every ilk. i felt guilty for the $2 that i spent on a cup of chai. the only reason i am here in america is to get some work. but everything i read tells me i am stupid to think i can do so, and makes me terrified that i will run out of money before i find anything. here is an excerpt from an article on the job situation in the US currently:

U.S. job creation far below expectations
Last Updated Fri, 09 Jan 2004 10:09:43

WASHINGTON - Job creation in the United States stalled in December as employers added only 1,000 employees to payrolls far below the more than 100,000 new jobs that had been expected.

U.S. retailers resisted hiring workers for the holiday season. Employment in stores, malls and gas stations dipped by 38,000 in December. Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector lost 26,000 jobs to continue a 41-month decline.

Despite the weak job creation figures, the U.S. unemployment rate eased to 5.7 per cent last month from November's 5.9 per cent. The U.S. Labor Department credited the drop to the fact that fewer people were actively looking for work.

About 300,000 workers stopped job hunting last month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

TD Bank economist Gillian Manning said the report "will sow fresh doubts about the sustainability of the U.S. recovery." She said the report "strengthens the case for the U.S. Federal Reserve to keep interest rates on hold for some time in our view, until the third quarter of the year."

The jobs report disappointed investors and U.S. stock markets opened lower on Friday.

Written by CBC News Online staff

... it appears the reports of the job market getting better are misleading, the simple fact is, after 2 or more years of looking and finding nothing, people are just giving up the search.

:1/9--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

rather unflattering but funny picture of 'x' looking like soviet mafia

'x' wiped my computer system and reinstalled all kinds of stuff, so now i can download videos and mp3s and listen to NPR online. he even showed me a thai pop station i can tune into and gave me a thai language cd from which i can practice my skills. so today i sat in my cozy little oven of a room and played on the computer all day. i downloaded a couple of simpsons episodes and snacked on chips and guacamole from whole foods.

it's so cold here and so dry that my nasal passages get all dried out and crusty and my nose bleeds. i finally went and got some saline nasal spray from the nice pharmacy lady. i also get a form of hives when i get cold- my skin swells up and itches, turns bright red. i am not made for anything but a tropical atmosphere. at least it isn't snowing right now, and it's sunny over the mountains in the afternoon.

otto called me from bangkok to say hello. since the police gave his bar problems he has no job, and the owners (his "friends") seem to have taken off with all the cash they owe him. it's hard to curb the reflex with him to instantly hand him some more cash (it's really nothing to me), but he is a big boy and he is in his own country and what the fuck! who is going to help me when i am in the same position in a month? i told him i missed him and felt sorry and wished him luck. i do by some stroke of luck have an interview on monday in boulder for a contract position, hopefully i can alleviate all of mine, ot's, and 'x''s financial problems in one shot with that. crossing my fingers.

later on 'x' and i went out for "one" drink that turned into several lethal margaritas and a few assorted beers at mamacitas, hiding out in the corner of the sorori-frat crowd. we had an amusing in retrospect soul-bearing session together in the corner until the smiley bartender kicked us out. 'x' confessed world domination fantasies and i confessed certain emotional hangups. we felt rather embarrassed at ourselves later on. 'x' was so drunk he couldn't walk and i just felt jet lagged, so we flopped ungracefully into our respective beds by about 2am.

:1/8--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

boulder creek lined with freezing coldness

'x' and i met up at my hostel room for a fond hello and shopping day. we went to the very normal american staple 'old navy' to stock up on cheap (warm) clothes. i bought a long wool car coat with a hood and some fuzzy slippers for $2. afterwards i took a happy trip to target and marvelled at the shameless affluence of americans. i also bought a cell phone, which is far inferior in quality to the one i bought in thailand which i realized with some chagrin that i could have used here (though i am sure ot is picking up lots of girls with it so at least it's still doing some good). at least my new one has a cool disco ringtone and i can check my email on it.

boulder never changes, i haven't really even spent much time looking around because i know it like the back of my hand already. hippie freaks, new age philosophers, left wing political fanatics, SUV driving, decaf soy latte drinking yuppie dog owners, vacant sorority girls in sweatpants and ponytails and annoying frat boys wearing baseball hats and carrying beer in their backpacks, friendly homely neighbors nodding hello to each other in the organic foods market, homeless people and scraggly rich kids pretending to be poor husking for money on the outdoor mall... in this alley i once got an underage drinking ticket. i used to live in that apartment on the creek. i met my ex love on this rooftop years ago...etc. i can't be bothered to be affected by the old memories, i just want to make money and get out. i put an ad on craigslist for asian pals, hoping that i can uncover the small slice of diversity that must exist in a college town. 'x' is in turn going nuts for asian girls.

:1/7--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

colorado from the plane

JFK was around 18 degrees (F) this morning as i hauled my heavy bags back to the airport from the room i had splurged on overnight at the holiday inn express. i felt a small twinge of regret at not being able to stay in NY. nevertheless, after an egg mcmuffin and orange juice i boarded the hellish piece of crap plane that was to carry me to denver via phoenix. i will never fly america west airlines again. for a 6 hour flight there was no food served, you had to pay to rent the overhead movie, the pillows and blankets were dirty, and the captain and stewardesses babbled nonstop on the intercom over the crazy turbulence, making the whole plane grouchy and paranoid. phew. got to phoenix and ran for the airport mexican joint. i ate a marvelous (though expensive) plate of blue corn quesadillas and downed a peach margarita.

:1/6--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

sometimes it is a goodbye




khao san road...until we meet again

told ot to fuck himself this morning and headed resolutely off to the airport with no backward glance, but was overcome by shame and regret in the taxi en route. i can't believe we left things on that note. at the airport i gave in like the weakling i am when it comes to him and mailed him back the phone i had snatched back last minute, and called him at home to apologize. he has a convenient memory blackout of last night and seems to think i imagined things, but there is no point in arguing about it. boys will be boys, and thai boys will be thai boys i guess. in the end we still love each other, and as we are both off to new lives i suppose it doesn't matter. i moped around the airport, glancing hopefully at the doors thinking he might show up to give me a goodbye kiss, but ultimately boarded the plane alone.

china airlines isn't the best airline and it isn't the worse, but it's cheap. that did not make up for the fact that they put me smack dab in the middle of the most annoying american family on earth. they were all members of a church softball team, carrying "spread the word" magazines and wearing baseball hats and football jerseys, and unfortunately loudly sharing with the entire plane the dimmest, most backwoods view of the world possible. as the ride progressed i noticed they couldn't have their own opinions on things without asking the group to validate it first (ie. "joebob, didja try that there creamy dessert stuff?" "uh- no jimbeam, i was a-waitin' for you to tell me what it was". "did you try it susie jo?" "no, janey marie, how did you like it".- on and on until i wanted to shout "just try something fucking new for once!"). when the man next to me started telling everyone else to say "kapooka" (khap kun ka- thank you in thai hideously altered) to the stewardesses, i started crying into my hammacher schlemmer magazine and slouched down in my seat with my headphones on full blast... luckily they switched planes in taiwan. i suppose i should thank them for taking my mind off the fact that i was leaving almost everything i love.

still crying in taiwan where i froze for 3 1/2 hours in the lounge during a layover, and gave a last fond nod to asia as we hit the atlantic ocean going west.
:1/5--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

mr. green and ot

otto and i spent the whole day together but as i was in denial that i was leaving i didn't place too much importance on it at the time. i simply can't imagine not being in this life as of tomorrow. we ate fried fish and somtam as normal. i took him to the library hoping to get him some books only to find that they don't allow you to check them out, but ot found a lucky wad of baht on the ground and the trip ended up being worth it (i bought him a stack of books later). i gave him a set of speakers along with my old walkman, and a thai cd that i had noticed him looking at in the shop. he played it for me and it turned out to be heart-wrenching love songs that he said he could never listen to without sobbing like a girl after i left. i also paid his rent and gave him a couple of thousand baht for spending money in case his bar is finito, which embarassed and pleased him. i even left him with my phone and two cards worth 1000 baht, so that we can talk to each other when he gets lonely. i did everything i could to make sure he'd still be comfortable after i left.

later on i helped him open his bar only to close it right back up again when the police came by for their bribe and found ot empty-handed. he was secretly pleased. he called his brother, mr. green, and the three of us traipsed off to khao san for a last night of guitar strumming fun with the khao san crowd. we ordered quite a few beers and sat at a table watching the nightlife strut past.

then somehow the shit hit the fan. ot was singing loudly and all the isaan kids had joined in in chorus. a cute thai girl and a stylish thai boy with a beret sat nearby and seemed to be staring at our little party. ot looked the girl up and down and said in thai "you're cute honey, i like you, you have a boyfriend already?", and suddenly the whole party went dead silent and were staring at me to see if i'd have a reaction. i played it cool. i waited until they all went back to what they were doing to ask ot what the fuck he was doing on my last night there hitting on a girl 3 feet away from us. he pretended ignorance and got up abruptly and left. i sat fuming until mr. green noticed and tried to calm me down, saying ot just was pissed i was leaving and wanted to make me feel bad. to me he just validated everything bad i ever thought about him. he came back and i kept quiet, going through the motions for another two hours as we headed into a club and off to the porridge corner for some joke. but finally i just up and left ot with mr. green.

i felt better once i was alone, at least i hadn't let ot steal my last night in asia from me. i walked all around banglamphu, just taking in all the sites, smells, sounds. i stopped and chatted with a couple of artists, bought a bad painting from them. waved to mido of the muscley godliness (whom i vehemently hope to see when i return) across the street. said goodbye to ciao and the little vietnamese girl who sell gum to tourists until 2am. patted the ma nois lurking fearfully in corners. dodged the tuk tuks and their politely desperate drivers. touched the temple statues solemnly as i passed. watched the moon rise over the chao praya. and finally let myself into my little home for a last bit of peace and quiet as i finished packing.

when ot came home he didn't bother to talk to me. he simply went to bed and fell asleep, snoring loudly and drunkenly. i felt bad that he didn't want to spend any quality time with me the last four hours, and turned into a furious zombie. this is ot and i though, we can't be accused of lacking passion. i watched him sleep with a confusing mixture of disgust and adoration, changed my clothes silently and tried to tiptoe out to catch my cab to the airport. he woke up at the last minute and grabbed my bag to carry for me, but i noticed he didn't put on his shoes to accompany me and felt sad. there was no fond goodbye as i left.

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goodbye asia
i can't imagine the culture shock i will feel at returning to the US after 15 months in asia.

i will miss thai people horrifically, for all the resentment i have towards them to balance out the love. i was thinking today that i have never heard a thai person say anything bad about another thai person. they are so polite, generous, and kind. as in all of asia they refer to each other as 'nong' and 'pee' (sister and brother), they are physically affectionate (to the point where men would kick each others' ass in the US) and playful, the women don't gossip so much, and the men don't sit around discussing how big a girl's tits are and how many times they fucked her like the american boys do. there's no superficiality and competition going on. 'god' how i despise americans and dread going back to them.

whenever i leave i inevitably get cold towards otto, which is totally unfair of me. i hate to think that we will go back to the game of clipped emails and distant phone calls, which never really allow us to say anything real and only make me distrustful and paranoid. i imagine him getting blow jobs as i confess how much i miss him on the phone, and maybe that's not so far off the mark. today i told him we need to just live life, be friends, and we can see what happens in the future. he says in response only that he wants to marry me and will prove himself while i am gone. it's all silly, as most likely we will both forget each other within a week, but again, that's a sad fact of life. when someone has changed my life to such the extent as he has, it would seem they should remain more prominent. that's probably a girlie way to look at it, as 'x' would say. life just is, it doesn't have rules. i don't know where along the lines i became so emotional.

i spent tonight packing, and collecting last minute gifts to leave otto in my stead. leaving the morning of the 6th.

:1/3--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

cure-all
ot and i were purposely lazy and after our morning somtam and fried fish run we went back to the room to entwine ourselves in each others' arms under the fan. he alternates between pretending towards nonchalance that i am leaving, and clutching me madly saying "you really want to leave me?" i waver back and forth as well.

i have been unable to really sleep for a week or so. too much thinking going on. when i neuroticize like this (imsomniacally) the same thoughts run around and around in my head in a colorful frantic blur like bumper cars. i tend to look at things from every angle, that's why i am so indecisive. i replay conversations ad infinitum, imagine situations in which i am eloquent and persuasive in my verbal attempts to communicate rather than insecure and frustrated. i have idea upon idea about which to write but in trying to discipline myself to *fucking get some sleep and think about it tomorrow* i refuse to write them down and they never reach their intended platform. right now i am imagining taking a 27 hour plane ride to NY, then switching (after an inevitable day's layover) to another plane to the empty US suburb 'x' and i have decided to meet each other in, snagging a brilliant job immediately, living the high life for 6 months to a year, and then investing half of it and with the other half taking off again to dodge volcanic eruptions and amazon monsters in ecuador, or tiptoe on top of the great wall and learn kung fu in china. i know this is what i will do and in the long run really want to do, but it will be so so hard to sacrifice my current happiness in thailand for my typically fragmented and morose state of mind in my own country. i am seriously thinking of inviting otto over for a wee visit once i get back on my feet...

:1/2--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ot tying his shoes
i have acquired the habits of a vampire (minus the blood drinking) since my boyfriend's bar job came into existence, and we have been sleeping til 1p every day. today was no exception. we had tom yam at the corner stall in banglamphu, which besides being my neighborhood is the biggest thai shopping district in bangkok. i sat watching the soot covered thai people working industriously behind their carts and stalls of cheap wares, motorbikes and soi dogs weaving in and out amongst them, the hot sun beating down from overhead, the humid smells, the tropical birds, the acrid pollution.... trying to memorize it all so i don't forget how much i love it. ot ordered yam naam as well, which is a salad made of crunchy garlic pork and onions. our breakfast was delicious as usual.

later we lazed around in the room, and i admired otto's thin, smooth, almond colored, muscled body as he took a shower and powdered himself up. he is the cleanest person i know when it comes to personal hygiene, and he always smells delicious. i brushed his long black hair for him and he even shaved his hint of a mustache for me. i massaged and intertwined myself with him and he whispered nonsensical things in thai to me as he napped. he put my hand on his heart and said "yim, yim, yim" with every beat. sweet as only ot can be, but as usual i feel skeptical.

a bit bored, we came up with a plan to go get ice cream- something new. otto ordered his first ever banana split and i had a hot fudge sundae. he decided he doesn't like vanilla- perhaps with chilis and garlic...

we headed for the pool hall by our house afterwards, where i admired him adoringly as he won 6 straight games of pool and we drank mugs of leo beer with the requisite ice. the thai boys all play snooker, which confuses me with all the different colored balls and the oversized mahogany tables.

:1/1--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

new year lights
new year's day. today i tried to decide whether or not i thought thailand and i had a future together, and the answer ended up being unequivocably yes. it's going to be strange to pick up from the middle of my comfortable life here- leave my nice little apartment and my sweet sexy boyfriend, all my friends, the fast streets and thick hot weather to go back to insecurity and dissatisfaction in the superficial US. but things fade with time, and i am scared i will forget otto's smiling gentleness and the smell of fried pork and the sound of tuk tuks. i suppose if it faded i wouldn't care as much, but in forethought it's sad. i guess it just remains to be seen if ot and thailand will still relevant in my life after a year apart.

i decided to take otto out- it will be awhile before he has a good dinner again or any other sort of luxury. we had japanese food and he explained in detail how to make sushi (he used to do so for a japanese restaurant). i gave all the socialite mothers around us dirty looks as they stared at him and then at me with surprise. he ate 3 full fingerbowls of wasabi with his sushi and i laughed at him as he sweated and snorted and licked his lips.

then we went to see 'lord of the rings- return of the king'. i had anticipated it's being boring and overlong like the first one (the only one i'd seen previously), but it ended up being totally worth the 200 baht each. it was a beautiful, excellent movie. we left with stomach cramps because of the tension. if i can find them i will buy otto the thai translation of the 3 books before i leave.

i told 'x' this will be a good year- i feel lucky.



 

2003-2004 elocin

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