As I drive about the sois in rural Thailand I catch little glimpses of things that barely register on the mind as the scenery flies by; strange things, beautiful things, sad things, interesting things. Little snapshots of this stuff gather in the recesses of the brain and regurgitate themselves at the oddest times. My dreams are sometimes cluttered with these little moments in time, to the point where I’ll wake in the middle of the night and say to myself, “Where the heck did that come from I wonder?” I wish I could hold on to these scenes; explore them in detail. I wish that I had the time to stop and investigate further as I’m driving by, but time is a commodity worth more than all the monies in the world. I wish I had more.
I saw a man once walking on the side of the road. As I whizzed by in my truck I caught a glimpse of his face; he had tears running down both cheeks. I didn’t even have that register in my brain until I was far past him. I’ve always wondered if he is okay now. What had hurt him enough to make him cry so openly on the side of the road?
As I drove by a small thatch-roofed open hut on the roadside once I saw a man with a machete chopping the head off of some furred creature. In my mind I could almost smell the hot blood. It could have been a small dog, or maybe a large cat, or what? I wish I had stopped and found out what the hell it was he was preparing to devour that evening for his meal time. I wonder still what it was.
I once had a guy wave to me as I passed him. He yelled out something, almost in greeting, as if he knew me. I wonder if we knew each other once, in another place, another time, and he recognized my soul as I drove by in the truck, and just had to yell a hello. I wish I had stopped and said hello too.
I saw a girl laughing in a field. She was alone as far as I could see. What was she laughing about? She seemed so happy. I wish I heard the joke that made her laugh.
I saw two young girls, dressed in school uniforms. White blouses, blue skirts, books in hand. They were holding hands, talking, walking down the road, jostling each other with their shoulders and teasing each other as they strolled along. As I passed the one closest to the truck looked up. She was close enough to touch almost. Her smiling face, her clear eyes and golden smooth skin are there in my mind’s eye now. I can see her as if she were standing next to me. Once in a while her face just pops into my head. Why? Why is she still there? Sometimes I think maybe I’m a bit mad.
I stopped at a road stop on a corner one time. I was alone in the truck. The window was down and my arm was resting on the door edge. An old lady standing by the roadside walked over to the truck and put her hand on my arm and smiled at me. Her palm was so cool. It must have been a hundred degrees out that day. She said something in Thai and giggled and walked away. Who the hell was she? Why did she touch me? Why was her hand so cool? Why did I just sit there and let her touch me? I didn’t flinch away. It was almost as if I knew her, and we were just saying a quick hello. Her cool touch almost seemed familiar; like my long dead grandmother’s soothing cool touch remembered from when I was just a little boy.
I need more time. I need to stop the truck more often, and just say hello.
Things glimpsed along the road are often far more interesting and wonderful than that which seems to consume our daily lives.
Slow down. Stop the truck. Get out, and say hello.
(The Central Scrutinizer)
Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved by the author.