I am a seasoned veteran when it comes to dealing with woodstoves. There are certain domestic events that occur in Bangkok that I am simply not used to handling. Let’s take Sunday morning as an example. Staggering into the kitchen to get my first cup of coffee, I noticed my kitten peering curiously at something on the small rug in front of the door. I assumed she was playing with something, of course not an actual kitten toy purchased at the store, but more interesting things like a piece of paper, a pen, or a napkin. She had stumbled upon her best find yet, a one-metre-long brown snake.
I have a snake phobia. I screamed. No more need for a cup of coffee to bring my brain to life. I ended up scaring the snake, too. Out it went magically fitting itself under the incredibly narrow gap at the bottom of my kitchen door. Thinking back on the incident, the snake seems more like it was a ten-metre-long monster with eyes as big as bowling balls and fangs as big as forks.
After this incident I developed a morning ritual. Before my feet even hit the downstairs floor I started banging and screaming to scare any potential visitors away. This takes a lot of effort first thing in the morning. Everyone who knows me knows that I hate mornings.
I recently learned that they actually make snake guards. These are plastic jams that you place under your door. Believe it or not, they are available at most shopping centres. What a wonderful invention! I am the proud owner of one now and I no longer have to scream my head off before going down the staircase.
Having a snake in my kitchen is the most terrifying event to happen at the house so far. There have been other unique events. Rat invasions. Rats are very clever fellows indeed. They know how to get into closed cabinets. They like to hide from the rain and end up using my attic as a playground. Get a bunch of them together and it sounds like a Sumo wresting match is going on above my head. I started hunting them down. They got angry and retaliated by dragging old newspapers into my light bulb fixtures. They almost burned the house down.
Other animal events include the numerous stray cats and dogs who wander into my yard seeking refuge. This always calls for an emotional crisis on my part. It is a miracle that I am not the proud owner of 65 canines and 34 felines by now. It remains to be seen whether or not I continue to successfully turn them away after a nice meal and some pats.
Water mishaps are also common. I believe the public works department must be psychic. As soon as you put a big glob of shampoo in your hair the water vanishes, only to return when it feels good and ready.
The snake inflicted mental damage. My electrical system has inflicted thousands of dollars of physical damage so far. Imagine this. A gigantic electric surge heads towards my house. My electric breaker system decides it wants to quit and lights itself on fire. Roughly 400 volts of raw electricity take out my stereo, television, VCR, electric fans, and alarm clock. The computer remains unharmed. An absolute miracle.
Electrical surges and ungrounded wiring systems can also make dinner a real blast. I sometimes like to cook on an electric table grill. If you want to flip over your cooking piece of meat, your fork acts as a conductor and ZAP! Enjoy your meal!
About one month ago a shiny red mailbox with the word AIRBOURNE written on it popped up next to my front door. I figured that the postal guy was being really nice and decided to provide me with my very own box. I was thrilled. I started tossing my airmail in it.
Our neigbourhood has one guardhouse at the main entrance although there are about ten other roads leading into the village. This guardhouse is a strange feature and is mostly used for watching TV, playing checkers, drinking beer, or taking a nap.
The guards must have gotten in trouble for just hanging around all the time. They have now been assigned these very sophisticated uniforms with the word ‘AIRBOURNE’ written on the sleeve. They have also been handed out handcuffs and knives. They now spend the day riding bikes around the neighbourhood making sure all is well.
The guards are required to sign a piece of paper saying that they rode by such and such house at such and such time and everything was A.O.K. They put this piece of paper in that shiny red box, you know, the one that I use for my airmail. I bet they are wondering what all those letters are doing in there!