1: I have time to spare, but not time to waste. Soon after I arrived to U.S. Army boot camp a fellow recruit--one who'd been there a week or two longer and so was a subject matter expert in my eyes--said "the days are long but the weeks are short." I didn't understand what that meant but it sounded really wise. Mornings later during muster I looked up, saw the stars, and realized I couldn't recall when last I'd noticed the sky. [Side note: thanks to my asthma I was discharged eight weeks after arrival, and didn't see a day in basic training. Related: the U.S. Army remains the world's best.]
Two decades later one of my finest bosses ever said "this is a marathon, not a sprint." It sounded really wise. And it was--I stayed there twice as long as at any other company. [Side note: she's now starting a farm. I love and miss her.]
What do these two events that predated the One Way Ticket have anything to do with what I've learned here and now? This: I can and should take time to visit the wats. To wander and discover. To be wowed by the beauty that surrounds me. To breathe. I need it, and I have it.
But I'm here to write. And I'm a little lazy by nature and tend to dawdle. I can't afford to do that here. I need to remember the voice that haunts:
2: Comfort is hard to come by, so there's no shame in taking it. Also in the marathon not sprint category, this really is hard sometimes, and it never is easy. I'm living out of a backpack week to week. I spend a big chunk of time looking for cheap yet cockroach-free rooms, weighing the pros and cons of bus vs plane, and foraging for cheap food that I won't regret at 3 a.m. I don't speak the language and don't expect I'll ever be conversant.
3: When drawing conclusions, time matters as much as place. Soon after arriving I noticed, damn, people wear a lot of black here.
Was there some aspect of Thai culture that encourages humble dress? Maybe they like the formal look here? Will I stick out if I'm wearing bright colors?
No. But it is a testament to how beloved King Bhumibol, the Ninth Chakri King of Thailand, was by this country. A year of mourning is prescribed, and wearing black or white is a way to signify this: but dressing as such isn't required by law, for citizens or tourists. This time next year things will look quite different. Had I not known that, however, I might return home with stories of "everybody in Thailand wears black" which simply wouldn't be true any longer.
4. Check the pressure on that bum gun first.