The Gift

I am such a geek. Let me tell you.

Today, for you all over there in the Land of Smiles, but tomorrow for me here in the Land of McLife and Starbucks begins a small milestone. A tiny ripple in Life’s big pond yes but those ripples can become Tsunamis if you let ’em make you a basket case but that hasn’t happened to me. Yet.

So true believers what could be such a calamity in the making you ask? None other than the fact Wit here turns 42 years old in say about the next 10 minutes at midnight. 42. YEARS. Where did all this time go? And what did I do with it? On the good side at least I dealt with losing my hair long before I was even thirty so that’s one issue scratched off the list.

Should I start planning for payments on a Ferrari to pay for my mid-life crisis? Pish-tosh! Forget a hot set of wheels, buy me the first ticket I can to Thailand, less expensive than an Italian sports car for sure but a way more fun ride I’m willing to bet!

As much as I’d love a plane ticket to paradise for my birthday I don’t run with friends that have that kind of cash to celebrate my rapidly approaching middle age. Besides I’m not the type to ask for what I want people to give me for a present. I prefer to leave it up to them to give me something if they wish and it’s also a test to see how well they know me and what I like.

To me that means more to put some thought into a gift that shows you know the person your giving it to. Growing up with my family in Alabama I had too many experiences of horrible gift giving each birthday and Christmas. My folks just don’t get it, or rather they didn’t get me. You want an example? For Christmas 2002 my Mom sent me a big surprise present. When I opened it you know what it was? A plaster statuette of the firemen raising the flag at Ground Zero after 9/11. For Christmas. I’m not kidding you. As we speak it’s still in it’s original box gathering dust in the attic. My family tries I know but some things we just don’t ‘get’ about each other or maybe I’m just difficult!

Lately I’ve started seeing someone (Thai of course) and as with any new relationship there is the learning curve of getting to know each other. Whenever my impending birthday popped up I would get the same question.

“What do you want for your birthday?” To wit I would always give the same reply “Baby, it doesn’t matter you don’t have to give me anything I already have the best gift in you”

Usually that was enough to settle the question and earn me bonus Juup จูบ points to boot!

But lately the question got more persistent and my reply would lead more to a look of consternation on someone’s face than a sweet blush. Someone was determined to get me something nice for my birthday but didn’t have a clue what I’d really like. I finally leaked my wish list and hinted at one item in particular. I just hate to see anyone suffer with agonizing decisions.

So why am I such a geek? Because I wanted a book for my birthday? Not even a book really but, wait for it, a dictionary but not just any dictionary!

So what did I tell you before? Geek. I’m sure some of you are thinking only Wit would want a Thai dictionary for his birthday. But do I even need to tell you how cool this one is? Expensive too, was the cheapest price by far and that was $42! I’m going to be owing someone some Juup myself for awhile to be sure!!

Usually I also buy some stuff for myself for my birthday as an excuse to indulge a little. Going with the same theme here I bought two other books from Barnes and Noble, ‘Thai Syntax an Outline’ by Udom Warotamasikkhadit and ‘Aspects of Meaning in Thai Nominals: A Study in Structural Semantics’ by Thomas W. Gething. Can we say Super Thai Geek?

Quite a mouthful those two titles, eh? Brassy in the pocket too considering most days I still can’t pronounce half of what I say in Thai with the right tone!

Breaking with my mantra of all things Thai for a moment I did get one other goodie for myself and that was the DVD of Francis Coppolas ‘The Outsiders-The Complete Novel.’ Like many Junior and High School kids in America I read the book The Outsiders as required reading. I liked the story which was really cool and also touched a deep sense of belonging in me. Of course this was circa 1970’s B.T. (Before Thailand)

It was over 20 years ago when the movie was first released with a lot of the book cut out of it. Francis Coppola being the genius director that he is re-released the DVD this month with all the footage put back in that was in the book but cut out of the movie.

Here’s the weird thing and why I am telling ya’ll this. When I first saw this movie I was 20 years old but it was like falling into a time warp going back to a place I always wanted to belong in my youth but never did. Now 20 plus years later I’m falling into a time warp again watching the DVD and revisiting who I was and where I was in my life back then at 20. A Double Warp making me do a Double Take! If turning 40 does that to you I wonder what turning 60 does?

I never would have dreamed at 20 where I would be now almost a whole two and a half decades later. Does anyone? And I sure couldn’t tell you where I will be in another two and half decades if me and the World manage to make it that far together. Will I be living in Thailand? If so I wonder will I look back through all the years and adventures, loves and losses of my Thai life to peek inside a window to today?

Will I look back to here in wonder or regret at my life here that I am living now? If I could know the future for my birthday would I really want to open Pandora’s Box? Tempting but I don’t think so, if I knew how my life would be in the future I think I would forever spend my life trying to change it. Maybe ignorance is bliss. Take the surprises as they come and don’t worry about what’s waiting for you in the dark.

If you spend enough time on the internet you get these funny or quaint or sometimes just plain lame sayings e-mailed to you. Sometimes you get a good one to remember like this one.

Why is life a gift? Because the past is history, the future a mystery, that’s why today is called the present.

Could all this we know really be that simple? Life is the Gift? Mai bpen rai, Wit, make a wish and blow out the candles. Happy Birthday to me.


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