Monday, February 28, 2011

Caddies Up And Running

Brovic- Blogging Since 1903

KHUK KHAK, Thailand - Just wanted to let you know we got the shower caddy operation back up and running, which in and of itself is remarkable, since I located the former crew manager, Li An Song Su Ky, and she magically reassembled the remnants of the Myanmar tag team, the crew, on conditions.

After lunch they, Li An and the four girls, were there at the table working on the caddies, and I was thinking, 'Now, that would be a good shot, photo, with their faces all painted in powder, their colorful sarongs, and everything.' AND it would actually provide actual proof that I'm not bullshitting you here on this one.

Had the coconuts, the wire, the prototypes and the tools and everything right there, but they wouldn't consent to being photographed, and became downright hostile when they caught me all smiles trying to surreptitiously obtain a shot. Quit working, all of 'em, angrily slamming the tools and coconuts on the table, and just sat there glaring at me, rattling off some shit back and forth to one another and casting dagger glances at me.

I was thinking, just then, 'Heyyy! Easy on the angle grinder!' but my thought got cut short know how it is when you can tell a foreigner is talki...actually, I'm the foreigner here...they're the when you're in somebody's country and they're talking about you, not behind your back, but right in front of you, in their own lingo, spitting some vile shit about you and your kind, thinking you can't understand what they're saying, which you don't, but you can tell anyway?

That's the way it was with those girls. I could understand a little bit of what they were saying, and it wasn't good...I could make out the words, 'liar', and 'cheap', but mostly I was reading their expressions and body language, and that wasn't good, either. Hostile. Openly hostile.

Li An got up in my face and told me they SAID they didn't want their pictures taken, and I was backing away, telling her, 'I know I know I know, sorry, sorry, tell 'em I'm sorry,' hoping she could patch things up by telling them somehow 'no' got lost in the translation with this ignorant foreigner, and so they wouldn't walk off the job again the way they did with the airplanes.

What is it? What is it ABOUT these people?

The conditions. Right. The conditions. Those girls wouldn't work hourly or by the day. They demanded to be paid 'piece work', or per unit, which we didn't determine just yet, because I wanted to get up and running right away already, and they wouldn't negotiate individually, but demanded to be represented collectively with Li An, who hates me, as their spokesperson. Plus lunches.

So, why, you may wonder, would you hang out, or work for or with someone who despises you, inside? People do it all the time. It's about the money. It's about the money and the mutual co-dependent nature of the relationship. For Li An and the tag team, it's about the money and just how far they can squeeze me until I snap, and for me, I need an interpreter.

I need an interpreter, and I need a crew. It's the only way we can get these caddies out there. Already told you, the demand's there.

I'm not giving up. I'm not giving up. I can get you your picture. Gotta use a different approach. Gotta tell 'em I'll pay them to model with the caddies. Yes. That's it! Pay them to model with the caddies. That'll work.

That should work.

Uh...wai...there's going to be a problem. Problem is, they're going to ask me what I'm going to do with the pictures, and when I say they're going to be published they're going to want to know where and who's going to see them, and that's going to be hard to explain, maybe impossible, and then they're either going to want a large sum of money, or return to being too shy and just say no.

I'm going to have to get back with you on this; this photo business.

Anyway, the caddies are up and running. I thought you'd appreciate being among the first to know.

- end

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lizards Holding Their Ground

Brovic - Blogging Since 1903

KHUK KHAK, Thailand - I mean,* every time I write 'Since 1903' I gotta smile...just putting me in the right frame of mind. And the reader, you, my friends, right off the bat must be thinking, 'this guy can't be serious.' You would be most absolutely correct!

And so, from the git go, to really follow along with any writer, comic, politician, talk host, your fishing buddy, whoever, right? you got to buy in to where they're coming from. Your client. Your patient. Requires listening, at least partial attention.

'Were you listening to me?'

"Yeah...sort of.................something about feeling homicidal."

Point is, lemme think here a minute, point is, sure, you can hear see feel where a person is coming from, and you're either following along with the rant, tale, complaint as an objective listener, or you can be discerning and judgmental, depending on where you're coming from.

If you're the flexible sort, and have had a nice dinner, you can listen to about anything from anybody. When people are hungry or wrapped too tight in their own stuff, then that can result in tomatoes being tossed on stage, beer bottles hitting the cage, folk jumping up in fits of rage, molotov cocktails igniting the throne.

I used to see that all the time in the audiences. Some are there just to enjoy the night out and have some entertainment. Those are the ones who are with you 100%, love what you're doing. You a rock star. The empathetic, too, are with you. They want to see you do well, the mothers in the recital audience.

Then you've got those who doubt you, and wonder what you're doing up there** to begin with. And then there's a percentage with whom you just sort of naturally clash, the class I would call natural assholes, because it's not you; they are genuinely assholes with everybody if you listen to their rap.

And then the last category, and who knows what percentage that is, is the nasty little evil low-life...anti-Christ......baaaaad people who are outright against you. They and the genuine assholes are your enemies. Everybody's got at least one (see Lennon, Gandhi). They want to see you fall.

**Yeah, I'm gonna clarify this right now, as opposed to running it at the end, past the end, because...just because. By 'up there', I mean the tightrope. No net.

Top of the luge run. Top of the charts. King of the hill. Or, you could be a Bernie, a shyster, a perp-master magician or the ex-governor of Alaska or the prez hisself. A mover and shaker. Saddam. Pablo. Pinochet, Qaddafi, or Hose Me Mubarak.

Gaddafi. Gadhafi. Kaddafi. Kadhafi. Quaddafi. Quadafi. Gotta Havi. Speaking of lizards holding their ground. You notice? Although it seems the whole world knows who this guy is, King of...Tripoli, right? seems there is no consensus among major news organizations on how to spell his fucking name. Lemme check with uncle Al. Al Jazeera. 'Gaddafi'.

Sure, people want to see him go down. Lula. Lula was about the only leader in the world that people didn't want to see go down. Lula and Michael Jordan. Nelson Mandela. And what'shername, Sirleaf, running Liberia.

Seems like it depends on how you go up. You stepping on people, running a gitmo, beheading your opponents, then you're bound to have some enemies wanna see you pull a Humpty Dumpty. What public figure do you know who enjoys popular support?

Popular support? What? Where am I going with this? This was supposed to be about lizards, and having a sense of humor.

Out here on my patio, I noticed the lizards aren't running from me anymore. They just...stay there, holding their ground. I wonder, is it the music? Me talking to them? The jokes? A reptilian affinity? That sunny spot on the concrete?

- end

* I absolutely hate it when people begin a written or spoken statement with, 'I mean.' That's a clarifier, isn't it? I mean, don't you already need to say something first? God, I hate that!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tooling Up

Brovic - Blogging Since 1903

KHUK KHAK, Thailand - 'I will achieve happiness if only I could get that angle grinder.'

Once you've been ripped off for all your tools three or four times, the experience leaves you feeling violated, of course, but also, tool-less, so to work, you must go back out and re-purchase those same tools once again. Question is, do you buy the good shit, only to have it stolen, or the cheap shit, in anticipation of passing it along to someone else.

I used to carry the good shit. Craftsman, Black & Decker. 'A workman is only as good as his tools,' some people will say. Old worn tools, passed down from dad's hands. All that stuff is gone. No need to lament too long. Be happy that someone got some good tools, cheap, for drinking money.

'Tall ones' (16 oz.). A case. Enough to kick Indian ass and end up in jail. Not for the theft of the tools, but for what the tools bought.

So, in the end it's all paid for. At my end, I go out and buy the cheap stuff in the bargain basket at Ace. I use it until it breaks, and then I go get the good tools, after all. If you've got the proper tools, you can do all kinds of things. You got a camera? You got a computer? You got a back hoe?
You got an off-shore drilling rig?

I got the heavy-duty Makita planer last year so I could immediately loan it to Marc, straight out of the wrapping, who was building tables for his restaurant at the time, and last week I broke down and finally bought my second heavy-duty impact drill so I wouldn't have to keep asking Damon to borrow his.

And just yesterday, I went for the angle grinder so I can re-ignite the shower caddy operation.* Did you know coconuts are a hard nut to crack? Harder than Chinese arithmetic.

Over here in Thailand I've had my tools removed, along with...awwww, I don't need to list all the stuff Thai and Indians have taken from my home during my long absences. They've stolen nearly everything I, laptops, cameras, artwork, star quilts, ceremonial drums.

Here, if you want people to leave it alone, you've got to leave the key in the ignition of your motorbike, the door to your house wide open. On the rez, you need 50,000 volts of electrified fencing.

Choice is mine - give up your tools or your aching joints. I go for following the sun, ducking South Dakota blizzard and Southeast Asian monsoon. Best bet is to put down tobacco, burn incense and ask for spiritual guard dogs.

Ask for guard dogs and give it all away before you leave. Feels good. Somebody's going to need that chainsaw this winter, anyway, and the battery charger, for sure. Can't take it with you, they say. Can't take it with you on the flight, and can't take it to the grave. Forget the guard dogs and electrified fence idea. Give it away.

We were talking at dinner with the Swiss and Germans about happiness and how it may result as a by-product of lifestyle rather than the pursuit of acquisition of 'things'. 'My friends at home have all the newest gadgets, but I would rather have the plane ticket,' said the young visitor from somewhere near Saltzburg.

Still, at times, to be happy, some things you've just got to have. Food, shelter, comfortable shoes, contact comfort, sex, all those esteem needs, some chairs for people to sit around on, a decent ride, diapers and a gallon of milk, a get-away, a raise, an angle grinder.

- end

*The Shower Caddy operation. I see this can happen only with the employment of the Myanmar tag team. After just three caddies, even with the proper power tools, I grew disenchanted with the project and moved on to something else. The demand is there. The demand is there. I've just got to produce the supply.

She Didn't See Me

Brovic - Blogging Since 1903

KHUK KHAK, Thailand -

She was sitting twisted
on her motorbike seat
on the side of the road

looking back over her shoulder
at the oncoming traffic
waiting for a chance to cross

as I passed by
recognizing her
and lifted my chin in greeting

but she didn't see me
otherwise she probably
would have smiled.

- end

Wednesday, February 23, 2011



Brovic - Blogging since 1903

KHUK KHAK, Thailand - Writing, not unlike a yoga routine, a mathematical puzzle, or laying a patio block walkway, in that it is an exercise, and often, as you may have long ago noticed, it appears I have little of consequence to impart, other than to say hello, and am only exercising whatchacall this craft. It's like you and what you do, except maybe you're more serious.

Maybe not. I hope not. After a very long time of serious, listening to Manny, I tried not so serious here for a decade or so, a much less stressful avenue I must say, and much lighter, insofar as loads go. People always say when returning home from here how serious everybody is. Nobody smiles.

'Blogging since 1903'. Silly. Sure. But, who else is making that claim? Better jump on it while the field is wide open, right? Like the 335th Tactical Aviation Squadron, 'Who else is making these planes? Noooobody. I'm on the front edge of that wave, My Friends, if it ever catches on.

It's what everybody says when I ask, 'You know anybody else makinese?' 'Huh uh,' they say, usually shaking their heads slowly while their eyes scan the home squadron, anywhere from ten to eighteen tri-plane aircraft in teams of two-plane mobiles. Everybody's got a wing man. I mind read. They're saying, 'You're fucking crazy............these are pretty cool......I could make this shit.'

Out loud, they say, "I could make these."

Ok. You say crazy. Ok. Well, we've got 96 pilots. Ninety-six. Grrranted, some are quite young, but some are quite old, too, by USAF standards. Top Gun is 61. You're wondering, right? That would be Ted.

Sure. Nobody going to argue with that.

If you know Ted, you hear he's Top Gun of the Slim Buttes 335th Tactical Aviation Squadron, without hesitation you're gonna say, 'Right...Right.'

Ted is one of the few people who would accompany me on a trek into Northeastern Laos, across the Plain of Jars. 'That's my old stompin' grounds,' he said. But right now wouldn't be a good time for him to go, because of reasons.

He told a tale in the men's spillover tipi at sun dance of falling asleep atop a crate of food and ammo in the back of a cargo plane, and next thing he knew he was riding the package down under a parachute and had to hoof it two weeks in hostile boonies back to camp.

"I didn't care about food," he said. "I was just hoping on the way down that there was ammo on the load."

Yeah, he's got the 'behind enemy lines' stories out the wazoo. He's also the only one routinely flying combat missions and filing regular status and operations reports, thus his promotion to Captain and designation as Top Gun. How 'bout you, Chuckie? When's the last time you flew a combat mission? You gotta do more than just clock in, clock out.


'...and if those degrees don't work out for ya, you can always fall back on shower caddies.'

Business is slow for BOMERS, (Brovic's Outpatient Medical Emergency Roadside Svc.) with two more happenstance clients last week, but like fish, they're out there, you just have to be patient. But who has time to be cruising up and down the highway all day? a vulture trolling for roadkill.

So that's not working out full-time. It's a pot shot kind of a thing. How 'bout you? Is that working out for you, what you're doing?

Incidentally, don't know if I already told you, and you can call it superstition or whatever, but over the past six years I've had about fifty road patients. None of them were wearing buddhas.
Never leave home on a motorbike without it.

Hey, I have been thinking about firing up the shower caddies again. I got the coconuts, right here. I got your copper wire, right over there. I got a dreel, and needle nose pliers, and buddy, that's all you need. I can give you part-time work, show you how it's done. Day labor, hourly, it's your call. The beach is just down the road.

My Myanmar friend, a logger I think, younger and much blacker than me, in a hovel just around the corner between here and the temple, showed me today where he just about took his finger off last month with an angle grinder and a diamond cutting blade, screwing around trying to cut the top off a coconut.

To the bone. We sit and drink his instant coffee with hot water scooped from an electric pot, and basically communicate with smiles and sign language, 'cause he don't speak no English, and I always get lost trying to talk their lingo in depth.

Besides logging and hand-cutting board lumber with a huge, ancient Stihl, he shreds coconut pulp with one of those spiked spinning machines, and is an artist, dicking around making stuff from coconuts and cool pieces of wood he's found. People around here (Asia) like that kind of stuff...driftwood and hanging plants and Orchids everywhere and people plant crazy. It's kind of cool. The gardens never die.

Although we haven't much to say other than good morning how are you, I'm on smiling and waving terms with the neighbors except those at the T in the bad chi house, getting slammed by all the anxious taxi energy of the road from the beach.

I've attempted to reduce that influence by a wall of bananas, a really nice coconut tree, two slender beetle nut trees and a cluster of long plants. They never die. You've got to cut stuff back.

You've got to cut stuff back, and you've got to find stuff to do. Creative stuff. But you do have to be careful with the grinders. The slightest cut, and I mean the slightest, requires immediate and constant attention. Any opening on the skin is a matter of deep concern. Karl's dad spent two months in a hospital in Germany after scraping his arm in a motorbike accident.

My friend Carl spend two weeks in a Phuket hospital trying to grab a hold of an infection that set in, in the wake of a motorbike accident. Bill had a hangnail! Got infected.

Gotta watch it. This place is JUST DRIPPIN' with parasitic vampire no-name bugs floating around looking for some unsuspecting farang from the northern hemisphere here on holiday to open up their epidermis as a host.

Don't believe me? Check it out. Look out the front. That's jungle across the street. Look out the side. Solid jungle, cep where I've carved it back to make what they call a garden and what I call a yard. Out back...'Gee ya! Lookit the siza that, wouldya?'


First night they were here, Digger's wife Taylor, had dreams of something coming up out of that shower floor drain, so next day we went down to the hardware store, early, like, on a priority mission, to get a drain cover.

So, yeah, there's snakes, too. It's good to have dogs and cats around.


About two or three times a week, or sometimes, a day, I go down to the hardware store, where those guys have sold me most of the stuff in my house, and where a mangy old ugly brown dog with stiff legs is usually laying in the driveway.

Often, I'll point to him, and ask, 'No work?'

They'll respond, 'No. Sa-leep. Him hab hang (hangover). Zantika (night club) last night. Him hab lay-dee...danCING.'

In truth, after six o'clock lock up, he's working night shift security at the hardware store, the 'grave yard' shift, 6 p.m. until 8 a.m., long tough hours for anybody.

- end

Monday, February 21, 2011

Out Of Place

Brovic - Blogging since 1903

KHUK KHAK, Thailand - Sure feels good to go somewhere everybody knows your name. Go to your favorite bar, your favorite coffee shop where they already know what you'll order. Your favorite restaurant. Walk down your hometown street, smiling, greeting folks by name.

Sit with friends, chatting excitedly, focused on your immediate conversation, absorbed in the moment of interpersonal interaction, oblivious to all around you. There's great comfort in that, sitting with friends around a poker table, a barbecue pit, swimming pool, a tailgate party, tickets to the Big Game.

It seems more often than not, I'm on the outside looking in. Like over here. Wrong nationality, right off the bat. Among the partying ex-pats, I don't drink or stay out late. Don't fit it. Square peg, round hole.

At home on the rez, wrong tribe. Wrong blood quantum. Wrong blood. In my hometown, where nigga meant something, wrong race, momma said. Don't get out of place. In church, couldn't find the hymnal page. In Vietnam, wrong side. Got hit, zigged instead of zagged. Voted for McCarthy in '68. Thought 'Freedom Riders' was a band.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The word even looks funny. Looks Chinese. Sounds Chinese. In college, I was the 'non-traditional' student; wrong word choice in English class, misplaced commas, dangling modifiers. Warmed the bench on the basketball team. Couldn't make the debate team 'traveling squad'.

Later, the wrong color among an all-white faculty, and the 'Chosen One' for minority representation on their committees, always whipping that same ole dead-ass horse across disciplines, across departments, across campus. Among the intellectual elite, I was in the wrong department. Among academics, at the wrong university. In court, wrong side of the law.

Down at Damon's Biker Bar, I've got the wrong clothes, the wrong shoes and no tattoos. Same at a Nebraska farm auction. No red hankie, no skoal, no work boot, no redneck tan. Everywhere I go, people give me that, 'You're-not-from-around-here, are you?' look.

Same thing at the ISS. All those scientific types inside being all buddy-buddy across nationalities, and who's outside with a monkey wrench, doing another spacewalk, looking in through a porthole at all the fun going on, beaming live video back to earth.

Growing up, shoes were too tight, the pant legs too short, last guy chosen. Where did everybody go last Friday night? Who gave you that haircut? Where'd you get that jacket? Blank space beside me in the yearbook. Voted 'Most Likely To Not Do Squat.'

Seven Facebook Friends. Three in real life, the Real 3-D World. They seem to be having a good time over at that table. 'Why am I the only one that got a...?' 'Why am I the only one that didn't get a...?' Why did the conversation shift? What just happened? What was the joke? I don't get it.

Who? Whaa....?

Why are all these other people getting service, and I'm invisible? Last tickets just sold out. How long do I have to stand here before...? Would somebody please tell me...'That model is no longer in stock, Sir.' Why are they getting their food? I was here before those people even sat down!

The exam is TODAY?

Am I the only nigga on this beach? Jeeez, this looks like a gay bar. Lower 15 percentile. What, nobody else wants to go? No vacancy, full up. Why didn't someone tell me they changed the departure time? Sorry, all out. That waitress doesn't even see me. I didn't know it was politically incorrect. You'll have to come back. Tagged out at the plate.

Very funny, you guys. That door led out to the alleyway. Then it locked behind me.

Rock, paper, scissors. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong again. Who got the short straw? We need volunteers - You! Who? Me?

'Man, I haven't seen one of these in a longggggg time. Ha. You can't get parts for these anymore. Where'd you find this?'

Shouldn't have been there in the first place. Had no place being in the ring. Sucker punch. Wrong place, wrong time. Breech baby. Sorry about the seating, you'll have to eat Thanksgiving at the kid's table. 'Ha. You should've got off three stops ago.' Went for popcorn just when...

"You paid how much? I got mine for half that!"

You see what's happening here? You see what's going on? Been wrong so long, it's a way of life. So if that's the case, off the pace, off base, off key, out of place, out of step, why is it then that I always, always, think I'm right?

- end


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just Listening

Brovic - Blogging Since 1903

KHUK KHAK, Thailand - I'm looking through my address book, wondering who can relate to Skeeter Davis. Or Archie Bell and the Drells. Booker T. & the MGs? Trying to avoid, 'remember when..?' There is just no end to oldies on UTube. The Chambers Brothers.

Did you know Skeeter had a thpeech impediment? 'Don't Thay No'?

Notes. All I've got here is just notes, to be expanded upon later.

Thoughts - You ever have 'em? This was going to be the working title, but was discarded because do you say?...peacepoor.

You'll soon be given many new freedoms; The first is your 'Freedom to Listen'.

Wull, wh...wh...what about freedom of speech?

Don't worry about freedom of speech. Just listen!

Like Lupe's God told him in ceremony, "PUT...the drum...DOWN! DON'T...touch ANYthing! Just LISTEN!"

' stop bothering me. I already know what you're going to ask for. Same as before. An don't sing. Just sit there. Sit there and just listen.'

Like now. Just listen to those songbirds.


Have you noticed, or is it just me? I don't know whether to call it outright thievery or what, but Big Time, Big Name, Big Speak copy-cat journalists are ripping me off for my ideas and passing them off as their own ('s something everybody does, isn't it?), same same cotton gin.

I'm seeing my work pop up in other people's material, without attribution or reference. You read the 'Times', 'The Nation', 'Truthout', or 'Democracy Now'? Check the editorials. You watch UTube? You Twit? Hangout on FB? See anything familiar? Reckanise it when you see it? It's not so much the ideas, but style, because you want the CAFs* to float.

It's the style. Maybe we're all on the same page, the same frequency, the same download. People never broke the rules like that. People didn't use to write like that, talk like that, think like that. You see it? Corks and bullshit ain't the only things that float. You can't contain an idea. Once it's 'out there', anything is up for fucking grabs. Lookit Egypt.

Same as artwork. You place some pieces in a few high-end galleries, and next thing you know, every artist and his momma is slapping roadkill on their work and calling it authentic. Don't beeleemee 'bout dat? Ask Misty about her turtles. Great idea, design-wise, but she got beat to the punch at Denver March Pow Wow by the Japanese.

So it's more than likely a combination of the two; people are exploitative thieving liars, and ideas are floating around, waiting to be hatched. ESP just a flip away. This wasn't going to be a 'remember when' exercise, but remember when people used to use the internet? And cell phones? Pony Express of the tech age. Implant me now with your newest version...super-size that dog...and give me a Pick Six lotto ticket.


My friend and Thai businessman, Sewitt, invited me to eat with him at a local Thai funeral, a week-long affair, and since many Thai live right alongside the roads, a section is set off with triangular markers with flashing red lights indicating a funeral.

You're supposed to slow down, since oftentimes trucks and motorbike parking consumes half the highway. In the country, you'll see rows of blue plastic seating and the canopy extending to the middle of the road.

Folks will begin to gather at about seven o'clock and stay for several hours, eating, and then listening to one of several monks from the local temple deliver a...presentation?...and mantras each night over a portable speaker system.

An army of staff runs the kitchen under large heavy-duty plastic tents and serves the public for several days at rows of tables; four days to a week, I think, depending on...what, I'm not sure. A dozen or so monks sit up front each evening in the first row of plastic seating, opposite the body, in an elaborately carved white casket on a raised platform, adorned with large plastic bouquets, tiny colored flashing lights, and big pre-made paper mache' lotus flower burial decorations about the size of a modest portrait, the significance of which I am ignorant. 'We're Sorry For Your Loss', I think.

After the wake, the feeds and everything, they load the family, friends, the casket, the person inside, and all those decorations onto a large flatbed truck and cart the whole shebang off in a slightly less than carnival entourage to the local temple, where they set off a thousand firecrackers ending with a BIG BANG to ward off the evil spirits, and then run the body into a kiln, and there you have it; up in smoke. The casket and decorations get used again.

Like the flowers, you go buy the decorations. Same place you get the orange 'buddha buckets', the plastic-wrapped monk bucket gift set with soap, hand towel, instant coffee, snacks, sweets, and other sanctioned goodies, especial for the monk. The Muslims call them (Thai monks) 'freeloaders'.

Sewitt wasn't there when I arrived, so after parking the bike I was escorted gingerly by the elbow by an old man usher/parking volunteer who led me to a table of Thai men who offered me to join them. I say 'gingerly' because he watched me take the first two shaky steps after getting off the bike, and seemed to treat me like an old man.

Taking a cue from other arrivals, I greeted the old lady with a silent smile and feather handshake, mouthing 'mama' into her watery but lucid eyes. She smiled back and welcomed me to eat. The men at the table said non-verbally, 'pull up a chair, join us', and pushed in front of me bowl after bowl of chicken, pork, fish, salad, greens, rice and water.

Sewitt showed up with what looked like a couple of bodyguards, and made his way around the tables shaking hands. People deferred to him, but not in the same way as me or the monks. 'I didn't know that dude was mafia,' I thought.

He came over and shook hands, greeting the men at the table. I pointed at my wrist and said I showed at seven, like he told me. "Sorreee," he said, his eyes darting around the room. Our table eventually dissipated and when I rose to stretch and have a smoke, Sewitt came over and said, "Sit down!", pulling out a chair for me in the group seating in front of the deceased, whom I didn't know, but recognized folks from the community.

I sat listening to the monk on the speaker, among fifty people sitting with their hands in prayer at their chests. Some of the people in the back were chatting casually amongst themselves while others appeared to be hanging on every word of the talk and mouthed the mantras.

The kitchen was still serving new arrivals. Sewitt sat eating off to the side with another group of men, all dressed in black. As darkness fell, two uniformed men with flashing batons slowed the traffic between the flashing red and white triangular funeral markers out on the highway. I sat just listening, not understanding anything of what was being said.

A clustered fan of motorbikes four rows deep had me hemmed in, and I had to jockey around with the help of a parking attendant upon departure. It wasn't the first Thai funeral I'd attended. Maybe the fifth or sixth. Thai people will often invite you to the feeds, even if they don't know you. 'Come eat,' they say.

Nevertheless, it always feels a bit awkward, probably not unlike a foreigner or a white person being plopped down on some gymnasium bleachers at an Indian funeral where you don't know the deceased, or anybody, and don't know the lingo they're speaking, and everything is dazzling and colorful and you're pretty much just looking and listening.

Like floating in the Sea. Just you and the sea, floating on your back in a heavy salt water solution, trying, trying really really hard to not do anything, all sound muffled to your respiration, heartbeat, and water slapping against your skull, an infinitesimal microbe in the hemoglobin of Mother Earth, dendrites of God's brain, and if a massive solar eruption of electrons should sizzle me, I'd just have to be okay with that.

Along with millions of other Earthlings on, in, near, or composed of water. If instantaneous worldwide shift in life at the cellular level should occur, then one might suppose water may play a role.

Floating...just floating, like in're thinking, 'womb', right? No, because the womb was too stuffy, claustrophobic and alcohol-laced. Not a place to stretch your legs. The Sea is much more expansive and embracing. Floating, like a...cork...a human cork. Just you and the Sea. Where the Sea just lets you be your own person.

Floating, like on acid, except for the head trip, the hallucinations, the body rush, the euphoria, paranoia, clarity, confusion, pulsing hands, flashbacks, hooking up with Jimi and sweeping out all the cobwebs from here to throughout all eternity.

Other than that, it's about the same, out-of-body experience-wise.

No, wait. Hodup once.

Floating in the Sea isn't anything at all like an acid trip. Just the floating sensation.

No destination other than nirvana. Just floating. In 'the zone'...which could be anywhere I suppose; on a slope, a precipice, in a pew, on your knees, upside down, daily work, in a sweat, your garden, a poet's retreat, holiday camp...whatever, offering a fragmented but acute glimpse of a timeless sense of self, using a whole nuth...a whole different part of the, the brain doesn't have anything to do with it**...a whole different part of who you really be.


Sometimes you've just got to shake your head and smile, ala Ronald Reagan:

To a visiting guest, I pointed out a beautiful four-year old coconut palm out front of the house: "I planted that coconut tree there four years ago."

As if Hoosiers would know anything about coconuts, my guest, from Indiana, corrected me: "That's not a it?"

"Were you listening?" I asked.

- end

*Cliches, Aphorisms & Figures of Speech

**They (the people who ran the trials) said I scored 'above average' on the RIT Test, the rodent intelligence test. It's okay to tell people. I brag about it all the time. I've already told a bunch of people. They, those guys, said I was a genius on their scale, comparatively speaking. Upon hearing this, I jumped forward in my seat, pumped my fist and shouted, "Alright!", but they, those people on the team, just looked at each other with a dumbfounded expression on their faces. Maybe they've been around rats too long, ha. That's what I said to them, laughing, still electrified from the news of their test results, and then I said, "Maybe you guys should move on to monkeys!"

I was still laughing until one of them said seriously, "Maybe we should explain to you the test evaluations in further detail, and what we mean by 'comparative'."