Life in Northeast Thailand: In Darkness, There’s…Sleep.

I was standing in the bathroom, prepared to enjoy a nice, long, hot shower. My landlord installed the heater while I was out of town over the weekend, and it’s been a fantastic new addition. But as soon as I turned the knob and warm water came raining down, the lights went out. And the shower went cold.

It was somewhere during the 10:00 hour last night. I was helpless in the pitch black, just standing there, naked, waiting for my shock to turn into fear. (If you’ve ever spent a night with me in the woods, you know I’m terrified of the dark.) What if I were to step on a lizard? The neighbors would hear my screams two villages away. Or what if the boogieman cut my power and was waiting for me, knowing I would be completely helpless? It would be a great plan.

An hour earlier, I debated calling it a night or staying up to shower and read. I was seriously regretting my decision.

I gathered enough courage to grab a towel and find my computer – the only source of light I had – before wandering outside where I noticed all the neighbors still had power. Strange.

On the other side of a cement wall I can’t see over, I heard an awful, snarling sound coming from the street dogs that congregate in the vacant lot. It sounded as if one of them was being torn to shreds by the pack. I started to ponder what could be the cause, still fully expecting to see a perpetrator, when my computer’s battery died. Damn.

I ran back in the house like a child, wishing it were possible to lock the door from the inside, but alas, the only thing protecting my precious belongings when I’m gone is a padlock through the outside door handle. When I’m home, I might as well post a sign that says: “Come on in. The door is unlocked and if you wait long enough, it will open itself.”

If there were a boogieman, I would be an easy target.

Having nothing else to do in the darkness of my home, I willed myself to sleep and was somehow successful without my buzzing fans to block the outside noise.

I had scheduled two Skype dates for morning, so I woke up early to see if the power was fixed. At my parents’ house, my dad would have switched the breaker as soon as the lights went out. In all the cities I’ve lived in since, trusty electricians would have been working through the night to make sure everybody had electricity before dawn. I admit it was ignorant to expect the same in Suwannaphum where, in hindsight, I’m lucky to even have power.

Needless to say, I took yet another cold shower, ate my bread untoasted and without coffee, and carried my dead laptop to work with me. I should know by now never to expect a plan to be fully executed. If it’s not one thing it’s another.

And today’s thing is a toilet that desperately needs drained.

Life in Northeast Thailand

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