Just From The Waist Up
About a month ago, Kong showed me his passport, an unsmiling man with shaven head and sapphron robe. He had the look of a refugee from a totalitarian regime. He'd said earlier that he'd been in the monastery, ten years, but it looked like a recent photo.
And a couple of weeks ago at dinner, he made a joke about monks engaged in turf wars when he crossed his arms in an authoritarian manner, cocked his head back and asked in gruff condescension, "So, howwwww long have YOU been in the monastery?"
That was just after we witnessed a dog starting some shit outside the restaurant with another trespassing canine, running him off, then pissing on the boundaries of the perimeter he was defending.
Kong brought it to our attention there at the table, then pantomimed the hypothetical monks, bringing together his two hands like chattering teeth, sniping back and forth at one another.
He'd evidently spent enough time to know the politics and pecking order of a monastery.
So it sort of caught me by suprise when yesterday morning I saw him pulling into the parking lot of a beauty parlor some 25 k. from here, across from the turnoff to Cape Pakarang where the boat house project is located. He told me was going to see his girlfriend.
"GIRLFRIEND!!???" I asked in astonishment, shouting with angry Head Monk authority, "A MONK CANNOT!"
Behind his wrap-around sunglasses, he laughed and said, "I am a monk only from the waist up."