Monday, November 25, 2013

Right Now in Laos: Book Reports and Bedtimes, Passed over Motorcycles and Lost Novels

After two days of grading book reports I'm still not finished. I gave it up for the night, took a shower (a strangely daily occurrence now, instead of... well... it used to be more infrequent, let's just put it that way) and pulled up some Neko Case to put me to sleep, because I must say, I am so tired that I truly do wish I was the moon, regardless of how fruitless such a wish may be.

 Instead, I sat down to blog about things of little to no (okay, all no) consequence, like what I'm doing in this moment on a Monday night after a long day of working hard just to stay in one place. My apartment is filled with plants now, thanks to a weekend investment in making my life more livable. I have orchids hanging on my wall instead of art; they are cradled in silver wire and their roots frizz out of the cracks in the bamboo that holds the minuscule bit of soil they need to live. They hold themselves in such a spindly-dainty way and they are so outrageously beautiful that they make me shudder with happiness when I look at them making crooked strange shadows behind themselves on the wall. I'm sitting at my desk (not the product of procrastination desk, that one I left at the old house, and it was for the best). The scarf I dyed in frothy, stinking indigo runs over the top of the desk under my laptop, and my gold toes (thanks to the women whose services compelled me to move into this new place) are curled round the bottom slat. Really, this desk is a dream, and I didn't even have to buy it. It was just hanging out here when I moved in, and I have to say, it is a great roommate. My hair is so dirty I cannot even bear to think about it (look, I'm showering every day, isn't that enough?) but that's what buns and bobby pins are for, and oh believe you me I am bunned and bobby pinned. My nightstand lamp is on and the room is dim and saying "Hey, come crawl into bed with a book, why don't you?" But I'm still coming to terms with the fact that I left "The Moor's Last Sigh" on a table at the coffeeshop the night I met up with a traveling French man, whose motorcycle I thought I would want to buy now that he was finished taking it all over Cambodia and Vietnam. I don't know, it just seemed like the kind of bike that would have a home with me, with a history like that. After taking some tentative turns in the parking lot and mastering the clutch, I realized I really didn't want a motorcycle with a clutch at all, in terms of the stutter stop traffic that slowly slugs its way through the streets in this town. In the excitement of learning to ride something I actually didn't need to buy, and in the ensuing "Hey, let me buy you a coffee since I didn't buy your motorcycle" guilt, I totally forgot about my patient book, waiting for me on the table. I can't tell you how frustrating this is, seeing as how there is almost certainly no way I can find a replacement in this town in any good time. And oh, that book, it was a good one.

I can't wait to wake up to the birdsong tomorrow, and open my windows to let the light block walk in all over my bed while I get dressed. The mornings here, with the sun in the palm trees making slat shadows that shift and bend all over my kitchen like so many pick up stick prints, are really excellent. I have plans to get fresh noodle soup and Lao coffee for breakfast from the family down the street. Here's to fighting through more book reports on the other side of some sleep.


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