Monday, January 24, 2011

Drops In On You

Brovic - Blogging since 1903

KHUK KHAK, Thailand - Yesterday Karl, my German neighbor around the bend in the lake, asked me if I go for physical exam. I told him, "Yes. Once a year. Physical, dental, and mental."

He seemed surprised I'd want to talk with a professional mental person, a shrink. I acted surprised that he was surprised. Everybody knows everybody needs someone to talk to. Even shrinks need other shrinks. Just to get the screws tightened. A psychological lube job.

You wouldn't want to get aboard a flight not having the screws tightened, would you? Jumbo jet, wide-body, with 450 on board with a couple of screws loose. No. You'd wish to bring it to the attention of a flight attendant, at the very least.

Oh, you could see a medicine man, or a priest, or your good friend, or your neighbor, or talk to the Sea, or your dog, depending on who you believed in and who was the most reliable. Your dog? Great listener, accessible, 'there for you', but weak on advice. The Sea? Again, great listener, open schedule, can see you any time, but the feedback is almost imperceptibly subtle, like the garden.

Your good friend? Sometimes the best, especially in a pinch. But also, sometimes your really good friend can offer you really poor advice, and in all likelihood, lack the proper training and background to offer sound psychological counsel. Big on empathy, but short on skills. 'Simon says...'


Priest, medicine man, shrink, gypsy fortune teller. Your call. A roll of the dice. Who you go to depends on what you want to hear. Shrink is going to give you a prescription, for sure. You bet. Pharmacological intervention. Priest is going to give you, ohhhhh...something to think about. Medicine man...? He might have you do something. Maybe, maybe not.

Go to the garden. Go talk to God. Wikipedia. Over here, folks go to the temple. They go see the abbot.


Arthur, the guy from Australia, who lived in the U.K. and then in Kuwait, and then Mumbai, and then na na na na, stopped by earlier in the day for ten minutes and stayed a couple of hours. Smoked half my cigarettes.

Said all we gotta do is put out our desire to the universe and then not screw it up by not being joyful in advance, or something along those lines. You know the accent...even though it's English, it's hard to understand, especially if it's a sort of rolling, under-your-breath, trailing off mumble.

Anyway, you may have heard me say it. Told him, "Create your universe and go live in it."

That's what I told him, which he seemed to grasp and agree, yeah, and went on about clarifying his earlier comment. which I got the first time. We were sort of talking about the same things, but there wasn't a full and clear connection at either end. There were nuances to frames of reference each of us held, clear in our own minds, but somehow not fully communicating to the other the ideas behind it. Know what I mean?

We were both talking about creating a dream, but the approaches were different. His was alignment of energy and the dynamics of the universe, and I was thinking more about paying attention. I don't know if that makes any sense to you, or not. But it did to me then, and it does to me now.

How many times you need to pray.
Muslims say, three times a day.

Constant communication, open channel?
Ritual thus on holiday
God for this
God for that
need we change our prayer
or lay it down
and listen
to the silence
dropping in on us.

Change up the sentence structure a bit.


Talking about the things we take for granted; the monkeys, arriving yesterday in a truck with a large metal frame on the back, like for stacking up firewood; four of 'em, to harvest a truckload of coconuts next door, the monkeys operating on one-syllable commands from the men on the ground, tethered at the neck by a thirty-foot nylon cord.

I stopped to watch them work. Two German tourists stopped and shot photos. The monkeys grabbed the coconuts, spun them off in a twist, and dropped them to the ground.

The men will gather the fruit and head into town with the monkeys atop a heaping load. I don't get too close to them. There's something about their eyes and the movement of their eyebrows and displaying their teeth that makes me want to take a step back. I see they keep them on a short leash. Lightening quick, could pull your eye from its socket.

Last year in the suffocating midday heat, a monkey was chattering away high up in the coconut trees, working, angrily throwing the coconuts down with unusually loud THUMPs. In her restaurant, Karl's wife, Mon, stopped, listened, raised her eyebrows and interpreted, "Monkey say it's too HAWT!"

Now, I know I've already told you that one, remember? but those monkeys reminded me of her comment, and a good one is worth telling twice.

If you don't remember, tells me you haven't been reading the material I send you, or maybe you just signed on lately, or maybe hit and miss. If you remember, then, cool.


Yeah, those monkeys...the line of monks and uniformed schoolkids each morning, the Myanmar women and their babies' faces painted with powdered swirls, everyday things we take for granted. Stop to think about the people in our lives, thankfulness...the air...our food...our hearts, pumping away, boom boom, boom boom, boom boom, all this time, every second, this moment, all these years, without really thinking about it.

- end