I wrote this into a blog about a year ago, and I would write it every week if I could: things don’t really go as planned here.
But really, I could say this to you a million times over, but it can’t really be understood without living it.
But as I was bicycling home last night and recounting our day–or really just the afternoon–I thought it was a prime example of things not going as planned.
I’ll warn you now that this might be way too many details for your interest.
It was a typical Thursday in most ways. I’m sure things had already surprised us in the day and we hadn’t accomplished most of the things we intended to, but it really took off at 3:00pm.
Due to Stephen’s motorbike helmet being stolen last weekend, we’ve been biking to work this week. If it’s raining, Stephen has taken the motorbike to protect the computer, but I’ve been doing a lot of biking. He’s felt bad about this, but I remind him that I’m the pansy who won’t drive the motorbike and that our computer is worth more money than most of what we own, and the conversation drops.
We had both taken our bikes to work, so we left at 3:00 to make it to our 3:30 Karen lesson, with a stop at our house on the way. The plan was to drop of the computer to prevent it from getting caught in the rain later and change into our gym clothes so we could bike right to the gym after language lessons.
We arrived home to find the electricity off, which I didn’t think much about. This happens often enough that we were sure it be back on by the time we returned for dinner.
We arrive at our teacher’s house for lessons about 3:40pm to find her not there. We walk into the entry way and sit down, as usual, because sometimes she’s a little late coming from an errand or something. We all run late around here quite freely.
Another Karen woman visiting our teacher comes out speaking in faster Karen than I’m competent with. I caught that Lavender, our teacher, was at the market, but not much else. We sat down to wait.
Another Karen woman runs out, this time with a phone. She has called Lavender, who then tells us that she is at the market, and tomorrow is good for lessons.
Thursday: regularly scheduled lesson, discussed and confirmed at previous lesson on Tuesday. And we’re here.
Friday: not a regularly scheduled lesson.
Stephen and I discuss our options: we could bike back across town the office, in our gym clothes, to work for the remaining 45 minutes or so until 5pm. Or we could go to the gym now in appropriate clothing, have dinner, and then go back up to the office tonight.
He has been a little swamped recently, so he wanted to work more hours anyway. We decide to do this: workout until 5ish, bike home, make & eat dinner, then head back to the office about 7pm for a few hours of work while we watch episodes of The Office.
We get to the gym, already sweaty from biking everywhere. And about ten minutes into my run, here is where it hits me: did we pay our electric bill this month? It’s in the “early twenties” of the month, and that’s usually the cut-off point that we barely miss…
Let me just explain: I’m a faithful bill payer. We’re not really the late people on that sort of thing. We pay within the first couple days, or at least week of receiving a bill.
But this country doesn’t always send you the bill.
We learned this a couple months ago, when our internet was shut off. I talked to the office manager and explained that we hadn’t paid for three months, but they hadn’t brought us a bill. How was I to pay it? How can they cut it off if they don’t give us a bill? Also, this has happened before: they won’t send us a bill for one, two, maybe three months, and then we get a large one. It doesn’t bother me; it’s just one less trip to the shop.
She responded in exasperation, because apparently this is obvious, “You still have to pay the bill even if they don’t give you one!”
Oh, so I’m supposed to go the company, about the day its due and ask if I owe them money?
In my opinion, if the company can’t be responsible enough to give me the bill, I shouldn’t be required the responsibility of paying the bill. Personal opinion.
Anyway, I’m jogging on the treadmill and it hits me that there is a pretty good chance our electricity isn’t going to come back on tonight.
Suddenly a night at the office seems pretty appealing: electricity to charge our computers, sit in the aircon, and see each other.
We head home, and Stephen attempts to see if the electric office is still open at 5:30pm. We missed them, so we meet at a pad thai shop to grab some dinner, sans dirty dishes or opening the fridge, and go to the office.
We stay until 11:00pm, because the air is nice, Stephen is getting a lot done, and I’m thoroughly laughing at The Office.
We go to head home, and Stephen sees that the motorbike gas light is blinking, at which point he remembers it was earlier, too…he goes off to get gas while I bicycle home through a ghost town of Mae Sot. I pass two cars, five people, and about eighty dogs.
And street dogs at night are scary. But that’s for another post.
I go up to the house to find a flower stuck through our padlock: a little present from the kids. This one is a fake rose, but they like to stick anything in there as presents for us: picked flowers, sticks, partial vegetables from our compost. This one is much sweeter and makes me smile.
And then we fall asleep in a very, very hot house.