giovedì, giugno 07, 2018

Oh give me a home, where the Germans are rude bastards

I’m still here . . . Are you? If not I can’t blame you. It’s been hard to keep my head, or rather my typing fingers, above the water as work gets busier, children get more interesting, and we keep complicating our own lives whenever it seems like we’re getting into some sort of routine. My latest idiocy has been a three-week work trip to Asia that the Monkey King and my mother have joined me on, as I continue my quest to be both a high-powered executive primary breadwinner and an extended milker. It’s been going mostly well. The China and Japan legs were very successful in terms of showing the mum the world, and work. Japan was particularly child- and senior-friendly, and totally bloody charming to me; I’ll go back, with and without family, as soon and as often as possible.

We’re wrapping up the tour in Thailand, which is much less so. I don’t think it’s my imagination that things feel a little less cheerful and welcoming than they did four years ago. And to be honest the way my personality is shaping up I just can’t stand being in places like this. After our last trip here back in 2014, I divided the world up into four kinds of countries: places that are completely awful for everyone, like, say, Eritrea; places that are awful for poor people but lovely for middle class people, like here; places that are pretty good for most people, like Japan or most of Northwest Europe; and places that are very bad for poor people and pretty bad for middle class people, like North America or the UK.

I think those categories still work for me. And I can’t stand spending time in the second category. Don’t get me wrong; we’re eating at nice restaurants and getting massages and drives everywhere here - I’m not shunning the benefits of having lots of money in a country without lots of money. But I know too much about what’s been happening politically here to imagine that the status quo of poor people just smiling and being polite and deferential is just fine with Thai people, and it all feels icky. And the racialized aspect feels icky too. It feels icky to see the old white men with their young Thai wives here. It feels icky to see Thai nannies carrying white women’s babies for them during shopping excursions.

I know I’m not going to be helping anything by avoiding traveling in countries like this, or India (though I will), and I’m not going to help anything by judging THE FUCK out of all the white tourists who gobble this place up like it’s a Jell-O shot at a sorority party (though I do). But this is me - and me wants to go home to Germany, where service providers are secure enough in their livelihoods and persons to be positively rude 50% of the time. This trip has given me enough perspective that I will positively welcome the rudeness, at least for the next few weeks.

Also, I miss Godzilla so much I could scream. Three weeks was about two and a half weeks too long to be away from him. I think it’s been good for him and the F-word to have some time together, especially over the F-word’s slow time (Germans don’t really work in May), and it’s been good for me to have the time with my mother, and it’s been good for the Monkey King to get only—child levels of attention and affection for a few weeks. But damn, do I miss my big boy.