Floor monsters

Our floor monsters have always looked like the one in this vid — blunt-nosed and stupid, quick to curl into a frightened ball. But this morning on the tile by the bathroom door there was this creature: eight inches long, evil-looking with a cocky vibe. After a high-pitched scream and the photo, I tried to sweep him up and he shot me a look of contempt over his shoulders.

In Thai this is a ตะขาบ (takhab). Click to learn more about GIANT POISONOUS CENTIPEDES OF THAILAND.

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It’s hot. The only air moving is thrashed about by electric fans. You learn that oscillating fans are better because each cycle allows you dampen-up a little bit, then enjoy the benefit of evaporative cooling. A steady blast only leaves you hot and dry. Man, it couldn’t get any hotter, right?

Pow! The neighborhood blows a fuse! You can hear the thing pop — it looks like this out by the highway:

The fans slowly spin to a stop. It’ll take the Provincial Electrical Authority crew two hours to find us. It’ll be 115 degrees in here by then.

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As he bicycled to his school, Paul stopped to take a picture of me at mine. The flag was going up to the tune of the Thai National Anthem. Just about every day I go out to stand with our students to show respect for the country and its flag. I reflect on how extraordinary it is that the government here has invited us to work here for 27 months. I reflect upon what patriotism means, how America’s moral authority in the world has collapsed, and whether I feel patriotic about my own country anymore. It’s a daily Be Here Now moment, knowing that time is fleeting and this will soon be a memory.

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