I shall continue my tirade regarding the fact that tourists in Kata seem to want to catch the coronavirus. If you visit any website providing health tips for travelling then you will come across two pieces of fundamental advice. First, practice good hand hygiene including making use of hand sanitizer at just about every opportunity. I have been in Phuket for five days, spending hours sitting in cafés and restaurants and, during that time, I have seen only person make use of hand sanitizer. One person. It beggars belief. The second piece of advice is to only eat freshly cooked, piping hot food from busy restaurants that will be constantly cooking meals. This will ensure that the produce is fresh as opposed to having been stocked at the restaurant for God knows how many days.
There is a food market in the center of Kata where the stalls sell warmed over beef and pork and chicken and lamb and fish and shrimps and oysters and so on. This food market is reasonably busy during the day time hours. Tourists come and go and purchase meat or fish that has been warmed over for hours on end. In the evening the market is thronged by tourists and so the turn over of food is more rapid. However, it remains the case that none of the food is freshly cooked. And so, tourists baffle me with respect to the coronavirus. Why is it that they have not bothered to look into the health tips that are so readily available. Or, if they have looked, why are they ignoring the advice?
There was a time, not really so long ago, when I would have got up to a lot of mischief in Asia. The nights would have been defined by drinking copious amounts of alcohol followed by crawling into bed in the early hours to sleep away the day. There would have been more but I am sure that you can imagine. These days I get up around 7 AM and write for a few hours. Then I visit the local coffee shop that has become my standard port of call. I return to my hotel, write again, swim, and write again before heading back to the same café for my afternoon coffee. Every now and then I will get a foot massage before heading to dinner at one of the more expensive restaurants to ensure, as best as I can, that the food is prepared in a hygienic environment.
The point is not so much the ways in which I move through my days, although this point is important to the degree that it bares upon the fact that I now live a completely different sort of life. The fact that I have changed to such an extent, is not the result of chance. I now occupy this different reality because I made the effort to do so. Life changing events can just happen – near death experiences for example – but such has not been the case for me. Rather I had to determine that I wanted my life to be different and, having so determined, I had to see it through. The details of what this involved do not really matter. The important point is that the way that I interpret the world, the meaning that I make, has fundamentally changed.
That said, residual ways of thinking and acting remain firmly in place. For example, I remain terribly judgemental with respect to other people. Kata town is, for the most part, home to tourists of the late middle aged sort and there are some absolutely horrendous sights to behold. I mean horrendous as in aesthetically reprehensible. Women, oversized to a degree that is hard to fathom, waddle around in bikinis two sizes too small for them, mounds of gelatinous flesh oozing over their costumes. Ageing and balding men wander the streets in what are called budgie smugglers in Australia. The rest of the world would likely refer to them as Speedos. In other words, the too small swimming attire meant for athletic swimmers.
The sight is objectionable to a degree that I cannot countenance. Massive beer guts spilling over their costumes and flabby formless legs that give them the appearance of sun baked strutting roosters. I wonder why people let themselves go to such a degree when aesthetics, a sense of self respect along with managing one’s body so that it might serve well into the later years, would all suggest that some care should be taken with one’s physical condition. I have worked out for my whole life and continue to do so now to ensure that I counteract the effects of my ageing. I acknowledge that there is a degree of vanity but even more so my concern is slowing down the deterioration of my body so that in ten years time I am still fit and strong and able to enjoy what life has to offer.
I have realized too that women have become anathema to me. This is not a fact that I share in my daily life because I can imagine the sorts of reactions that would result. However, when all is said and done, I simply seem to find women objectionable these days. I don’t mean that I am a misogynist. I don’t hate women. It just seems to be the case that I do not want anything to do with them. What place would they have in my life when I am completely content with my own company? What role would they play when my intellect suffices to fulfil me? I can think of no reason why I would want female company. More to the point, I can imagine how irksome such company would be. And as for sex. I don’t really care because I have indulged to an extreme, following through on my basest desires. There is nothing more that I want to explore.
I imagine that psychologists would attempt to delve deep into my unconscious to uncover all of the reasons why I have this attitude towards women. They would likely decide that this aversion is not really new, that it is something that has been with me all along. There would be issues with my mother no doubt. But really. Yawn. The unconscious is what it is and it should be left well alone because there is good reason why thoughts have been repressed. And as for therapy sessions, they are a secular form of confession that should be anathema to anyone with a degree of self respect. And so, here I am. Intent it would seem not just with continuing to embrace my solitary life but, rather, to maintain that emptiness with particular respect to the female of the species. An example. Patong beach, renowned for providing for any sexual desire one might imagine, is only seven kilometres away and it holds absolutely no interest for me.
There is more to these thoughts than self indulgent rambling. Let us assume that the virus becomes rampant in Australia with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people dying. I have no real idea whether this might be the case but that is not the point. The point is that in the worst case scenario I would be on my own. I don’t mean on my own but with people to call or text. I mean totally alone, not connected with the world in any way other than by work, should work still be a reality. I know that I will cope with absolutely no problem should those circumstances eventuate because I have the kind of mental and emotional fortitude that enables me to define and structure my days in ways that are completely fulfilling. I need no one to make my life meaningful and I do not need anyone to care or be concerned for me.
First Published March 3rd, 2020