The first class of the day had just ended. I needed second breakfast. Or water. Or second breakfast, water, and a cold shower. Compounding my early-morning exhaustion, Thailand’s unholy heat and humidity had begun its upswing, stifling any fond memories of the breezy and mild December that I held so dear. My teaching dress code—pants; dress shirt; tie—was nothing but the devil’s getup.
What’s more, and I was contending with the resurrection of a stomach bug. Prior to Thailand, I counted myself among the digestive ranks of cows. Since, however, I’ve proved nothing but a run-of-the-mill, uni-stomached human.
Plus, I probably hadn’t had any coffee before I began teaching. In short, Shit was fixin’ to be hairy.
As a consequence, I nearly bumped into a former student, Golf, as we were leaving our respective early-AM classes. He was one of my most fluent and enthusiastic students and never shied away from a conversation. Therefore, the little shit immediately interrogated me while my mind tried to focus on anything but my stomach.
Everything started according to script: “Good morning, teacher. How is your day, teacher? You go to get breakfast, teacher?”
Then the script was tossed and revelations were had.
“Teacher, you in love?”
“You look like you in love. In your face.”
Well, now that you say it, my gut is either in knots because it needs food or because a colony of parasites is in there, reveling against my stomach lining.
(In hindsight, maybe it was both.)
“No, Golf—no love.”
“You sure? Your face look like in love.”
“Golf, I promise. No love. Actually, my stomach is very sick. I think I ate some bad food at the Burmese restaurant on campus.”
“Oh, like hurting and fire in stomach?”
“Very, very much so, Golf.”
Golf paused, trying to figure out his next move. Expansive, complicated formulas were running through his head as he attempted to align and elucidate any possible cultural differences.
“Well, same-same face. Congratulations, teacher.”
Thank you, Golf.