My head floated in feverish clouds, while my body slumped heavy in the chair of a waiting room, the signs all in Thai. I was cold, too cold for Thailand, even on a rainy day. I watched the rainfall through the open doorway until I caught a young girl staring at me, peeking around a wall just beyond the door. Even as my eyes caught hers, she looked at me relentlessly, and I felt self-conscious. I felt so ill, and I’m sure I looked it. Hadn’t anyone taught her not to stare at people? I told myself to stop being sensitive; I always revert back to a child when I’m sick. I yearn for my mother; I crave grandma’s soup; I want to cuddle my Mickey Mouse doll, which I left back home for safekeeping. I want to be hugged.
I pleaded something to this effect with my eyes, and the girl looked away. I turned my attention back to the rain and wondered how long it would before they called me. I wondered how many people in this waiting room were here to see the doctor, and how many were here to see the dentist, and why they both shared this tiny clinic. I wondered why there were so many people in the waiting room when I arrived, just before five, when I was told the clinic wouldn’t open until five. I wondered if the doctor would speak English, and if not, if he would understand the Thai that I had been quietly rehearsing in my head since I left my apartment: Fever, kai. Three days, saam wan. Sore throat, jep kaw. Headache, buat hua. Very bad, mak mak!
I wondered if the little paper card with the words I can’t read is really my insurance card, if these numbers are dates, and whether or not they’ve passed. I wondered why the receptionist, when she got up to let the little girl (I wondered if it was her daughter) into the bathroom, took off the pair of slippers she was wearing and put on another pair of slippers, and then switched them again when she came back. I wondered why the little girl, who looked at me with every pass, was unable to get into the bathroom on her own. I wondered how the cluster of motorbikes parked right outside the doorway on the sidewalk had gotten up there - the curb was high, and I couldn’t see a ramp or rock or brick in sight. I wondered how they’d get down. I wondered why the woman who had recently walked in and sat down got up and walked out just minutes later, without a word to anyone. She never did come back.
It has been a rough patch of living as of late, Mercury is about to complete her (damned) retrograde, which has left in its path tiny piles of destruction. I awoke this morning feeling that - while everything on the surface was fine - the world was somehow askew. I fumbled with my notebook, unable to find words. My cup of morning tea remained untouched, and my body refused to contort itself to any shape vaguely resembling a downward-facing dog. A bust, it was heading to be a bust of a morning - which, of course, runs the risk of evolving into a bust of a day. And that is not what I am after. I decided, hesitantly, that what I needed was a change in perspective. To shift not what I was looking at but rather the direction from which I was seeing it.
Chicago-born citizen of the globe, rich in the things that really matter. Let's get weird.