Out and About


The hour is late. Later than I think, but what I think doesn’t really matter in the long run, for it is Fate that holds all the cards. My predictions rarely coincide with reality. Reality and I have never been close. We have always ignored each other as often as possible.

I just turned seventy and today I bought a minimal medical insurance policy that applies only here in Thailand, where medical costs are a fraction of what they are in the West, as well as minuscule term life insurance policy that they will not offer me next year, for by then I will be too old to be a satisfactory risk. My wife and I thought it would be the prudent thing to do, for watching my expatriate friends launch GoFundMe campaigns on social media to cover their medical bills seems, oh I don’t know…sad.

My Thai wife assures me that the six thousand dollar term life insurance benefit would cover a proper disposal for these tired bones. Nobody gets buried around here. It’s all about cremation. Your coffin need not be plush nor substantial, for it’s only going to be in use for a few hours.

When Asian people notice my long ear lobes they assure me I am due a long life. Like the Buddha, my ear lobes hang low enough to flap in the breeze. I will live well into my nineties. That could either be a blessing or a curse, depending on how things work out.

In fact, even though my wife is twenty years my junior, she may predecease me, for Thai people don’t tend to live as long as Westerners.

I’ve seen infirm and elderly foreigners leaning on the arms of much younger Thai women, and the attraction seems to the casual observer more centered on nursing than romance. Especially in Pattaya, the coastal city of a million people a two-hour drive from Bangkok, where poor Thai girls from the provinces go to find work, these pairings are common. If equal numbers of Thai elderly of both sexes exist, they are in hiding. They are not out and about in Pattaya, or Bangkok shopping malls.

There are no victims here, simply a mutually beneficial work situation. Forget about first world notions of romance and intimacy based on “equality” whatever that might be. Why call it “exploitation?” It’s a free market in action.

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