I Thought I Was Going To Live Alone
I moved to the countryside near Sansai, eight miles out of Chiangmai. When I step outside to my kitchen and teak deck, I never know what creatures from the neighborhood or nearby marsh are currently visiting (or have visited and left their excremental calling cards). Chickens, ducks, geese, scrappy dogs, two black cats from Hell, mice and their large cousins, a miniature vagrant horse, spiders a bit smaller than the horse but much faster, or an infinite number of ants, times two, give or take a million (or billion).
One day I emerge, sans spectacles, to find a large, dark pile of poop in the middle of the floor. As I reach for the paper towels, sponge and cleaner, the poop hops out of the kitchen and off the deck. Toad. Size XXL. Hopefully it likes ants.
The toad (or toads) has (or have) become a permanent resident (s). Moments after removing one toad from its home in my tool bin and gently setting it in the bamboo stand near the deck, another toad magically appears. Perhaps I should have kissed her (or him) in hopes of creating a beautiful (or handsome) princess (or prince). I introduce the two toads in the bamboo so they’d happily hop off into the sunset (the marsh) holding hands. (Paws? Toes? Suction cups? What do toads hold?) One of them (he or she) is back in the bin the next day, safely hidden under hammers, spanners and sponges. Maybe the other one (she or he) has a separate apartment somewhere in my bungalow. I’ve given them the androgynous name of Tony (or Toni) until I can’t find them together again and determine their sex. (Turn them over? Operate? Check their laundry?) I suspect they’ve taken up residence with me, a friendly Farang, instead of neighboring Thai families where they’d probably be stuffed, skewered or stir-fried. When I return late in the evening, Toni is normally up and out waiting for me. Some men come home to a stunning, naked woman lounging on a bearskin rug or doing the dishes. I come home to a naked toad squatting on the tile floor or sitting in the sink. It’s definitely better than coming home to a wart-ridden wife who looks like a toad, who will not leave without a legal battle, large amounts of cash and the deed to your house, and who you cannot fling into the marsh, stuff, skewer or stir-fry. Toni likes to wear my shoes but only needs one at a time. I cannot fathom climbing into the stench of my riding boot, especially risking the chance of a foot the size of a tourist bus in my face. I put on a shirt and feel a wet spot in the sleeve. Toad. Toni’s in love with me. As I leave home to ride into town, I grab my jacket, jump on the bike, reach into the pocket, but do not feel keys—I feel toad. Since Toni’s confident she’s not going to be dinner, she obviously wants me to take her out for dinner.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com