Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Solitary Man and Traveling Alone

Solitary man.  No, I'm not a real Neil Diamond fan, but this song sort of got stuck in my head.  People have asked me how I could travel for so long.  It's very simple: I'm a solitary man.  I'm also inherently an observer.    

If you write, you try to get focus, to ge clarity, to get the words right.  I don’t blog like a maniac.  I tend to try to reflect before I post something onto the Internet.  Even then, I will return and edit.  Still there will be errors, and some of my statements are subject to re-evaluation.  I have my share of grammar errors, and I would fail my own class if I measured out my syntax.  (The profusion of the 1st person voice doesn’t help much here.)  Some of my thoughts will not align with others, but I tend to approach my view of things from the angle of being aware, of being mindful, of being locked into the present.  You must be fully aware of the surroundings and people, both good and bad, both positive and negative.  Most importantly, you must not judge, but then this is difficult for human beings.  We are inherently flawed creatures.   We have our tastes.  We have our self imposed limits.  We are full of vanities and needs.  I approach things from the viewpoint that I may be wrong.  If someone insults me, it doesn’t matter.  Actually it does, but I try to suppress it.  To write, you must be an observer.  Everything is a subject of inquiry.  If you look at a person, how do they react?  Watch the couple engaged in intimate conversations that can not be overheard.  Be true to the present.  When you analyze it, it will become the past.         

One aspect, that makes me different than most, is that I am pretty much--totally alone.  I don’t’ have too many obligations other than my elderly mother (who still drives and I have on life alert), my cat (which is more dependent than my mother) and a house.  I can disappear for 2 months.  Who is this psychotic sick puppy?  I live alone.  I eat alone.  I sleep alone.  I drive alone.  I am an only son.  Someone once called me a monk as far as my lifestyle is concerned.  Given this, you either are totally dependent or like me totally independent and self sufficient. 

Right now, I’m in Thailand in university housing.  The hot water doesn’t work.  I prefer cold water to the lack of electrical power.  Can’t type if the computer is dead.  There is mold in bathroom.  There is mold and mildew everywhere in SE Asia.  Don’t even try to avoid it.  I eat street food.  Watch cute Thai girls pose for Thai boys who actually might be gay.  Watch foreign men lust over Thai girls in the worst way, not realizing they are really men who have been sexually reassigned.  Observe the almost pervasive infiltration of Korean soap operas on Thai TV, and the ever presence of the Doreman character in Japanese Anime in everything.  Hear songs by Lady Gaga being sung by some band (who don't understand English) for a late night restaurant.  (Yes, even that pop icon of 2010, Lady Gaga, is present in SE Asia.)  I can sit in a room alone in Bangkok and type because I am alone.  How long this will last is up to speculation, but my premonitions have told me once that this is probably the way it will be for years.  I am inherently, a solitary man.  

I have managed to network and to make friends with a few people in Cambodia and Vietnam.  Whether or not they will develop beyond surface connections is up to speculation.  Both countries are in points of transition.  There are some common aspects to VietnamCambodia and Thailand.  Cambodia and Thailand have more in common than Vietnam, which has become more of a secular society.  Of course, all of them are not the USA.