16 05 2008

i visited my friend vivek last weekend. he’s a dentist. he’s bought part of a practice, is getting married, is mired in preparations to secure loans to start a practice for his fiancee (also, yes, dentist), and is looking for a house to buy. mind you, none of these things is very simple. any of them would take up more of my time than i’d be happy to give. he tried to find a reasonably priced elephant for his wedding, for instance (unfortunately, the closest elephant is in myrtle beach, and he was the elephant they used in operation dumbo drop, so he’s double the cost of normal elephant rental, which isn’t quite ten grand. they’re going with the original plan of just a horse). anyway, while i was visiting, i also looked through his pictures of his trip to thailand with his fiancee a couple of years ago. it was much of the thailand you’ve come to expect tourists to see. neon lights, prostitutes, temples, monks, fishing boats. in that order. kind of repetitive over their couple of months there.

but then suddenly there was a lull in the photos. there was a small village. no big buildings. some mountains in the distance, waterways in the landscape immediate. i asked him about it, and he said that they wanted out of that place the moment they arrived, but they couldn’t get out for a few days. it was dead. BUT. after a couple of days, when they’d adjusted to the pace of the village, they actually found it to be very pleasant and decided to stay longer. it wasn’t that it was dead; it was that they were so accustomed to a more frenetic pace–get to temple one, appreciate, go to temple two, observe and enjoy, go to whore house, take clandestine photos of fascinating hare-lipped prostitutes–that the people in the village and they didn’t remotely understand each other. like speaking different languages in terms of expectations and constitutions, which was additional to the fact that they actually spoke different languages. he said that he and sonia, his betrothed, once acclimated to the place, didn’t want to leave. they loved the pace of the place and its people, and felt very relaxed and happy. they stretched out their stay there until they absolutely had to leave to keep their travel plans from unraveling.

so i had to wonder: if one could really appreciate and love this style of living, how could one (or two) be equally enticed by their current plans for life? massive debt for massive pay, expensive cars and houses, traffic, surrounded by a completely different kind of people–those constantly worried, self-conscious, perpetually empty shells (am i being too harsh?) that we’re all forced to live with, unable to alter their shoddy programming? this isn’t anything that needs to be answered. it’s just strange to me. same people, two radically different paths. about as different as can be, in fact. in vivek’s case, of course, and with all of us, there’s a great deal of this being surface living, and since he’s not a perpetually empty shell, it’s not as simple as one path being right and another being wrong. there is probably always more than one path.

i just opine that the slow, feet-touching-the-earth path is more real, more true and more honest that this that we find all about us here.  that’s just my woman’s intuition.




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