Who Wants Freedom, Anyway?(I’ve had too much of it already!)



a funny story about accidents and freedom and domesticity

“Here we go again!” Na, my partner, shouted down the ‘phone when she heard about my accident in Cambodia, making the statement loudly and clearly that I just love having accidents. Here, in Pattaya, I sold my motorbike and bought a car to avoid getting knocked off the motorbike, and to this day I remain uncrushed in my car, but set me free to travel out of Pattaya and I am liable to have an accident, so reluctantly I have to agree with my partner. Here we go again, indeed.

      I got swimming in rough, dirty, sandy sea in Cambodia and exiting I banged my right bunion on a submerged rock. Seven stitches and inconvenience. Three years ago I got bird watching in the Isaan and scratched my left tendon. Endless infection, operations, five months on crutches.

      I seem to avoid accidents in Pattaya, a city where many a citizen, temporary or permanent, comes a cropper but I am always at risk elsewhere.

      Why so?

      I don’t like freedom. Here, in Pattaya, when I get up I have no choice but to drink Na’s cups of tea and eat her delicious brunch at about 10.30 a.m. When travelling I have to take so many decisions that I exhaust myself. For example, in Kampot, Cambodia, breakfast-time was crisis-time, and I’m talking big psycho-drama here! I had to decide to eat a roll or buy some fruit or mange a pot-pizza or just drink coffee, and then would it be hot and strong or rubbish? Would there be fresh milk or would I have to add the white, sugary blurge-splurge that poses for milk? If so, would I have already sugared my cup, expecting real milk, thereby ruining my cuppa by making it (fucking) too sweet!? Too many decisions. Too much acitivity. An old man like me doesn’t need that sort of freedom. It’s exhausting. I am already at risk on my travels from just about everything because I am not sure of what is going to appear and try to get me. It can be an ant or a sea wave or its submerged rock or a rough stretch of road or just oldish age which means I get disappointed by not seeing the birds I want to see.

      This sense of doing too much and being under pressure is very real. I objected to giving a clean twenty-dollar note to a receptionist I know. She wanted no problems in the bank. I told her I wanted no problems. I objected to a lady I know who didn’t give me a helmet with a visor. I also objected to her sulky mug. I built up the pressure. I took too many decisions, and, hey presto! I felled myself on a rock!

      Today, I’m blogging happily away. Yes, my foot’s up resting but I’m OK. I’m getting my brunch without deciding or moving. I’m listening to the delicious sounds of domesticity in the form of Na arguing with her daughter who is arguing with her daughter while the pestle gets banged and marvellous additions to my brunch in the form of liquids with hot peppers, other herbs and garlics get bashed together. I’m here in my air-conditioned room, happy to be imprisoned and far away from dangerous freedom!

the price of freedom!

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