It was always fish for Friday night. As an irreligious family I am not sure why, it just goes to show how hard it is to shake these things off. So with Ploy out all day (and evening) selling her cosmetics I succumbed to my upbringing and made some salmon, chips and salad.
And very nice it was too, if I say so myself. I watched the Pierce Brosnan Thomas Crown Affair, (not bad, I especially like the bits where he steals the paintings, not so bothered about the middle bit), had a couple of Archa beers and went to bed about 8.30p.m., late for me recently. Ploy came home at 11p.m., I know because an excited Pinky ran up and down the stairs and woke me. But I went straight to sleep again and had a good night's sleep. I woke late for me, 5.a.m. and am now at work trying to finish a couple of orders for Monday and under instructions from Ploy, who woke to pee pee, to wake her at 9a.m. as she is off to meet more customers today.
Whilst sitting through the more boring parts of the movie it occurred to me that, aside from Ploy and a rather muted conversation with Pinky, I hadn't spoken English to anyone for several weeks. Of course I get e-mails from friends and customers and I am writing this, but because I didn't do my usual visa run to Singapore last time and haven't really gone anywhere for a few months, I have actually lived an almost hermit like existence.
Tomorrow it will be three months exactly since I left the only forum that I used to contribute to. Judging by the inane discussions going on there at the moment I will not be back, other than to read, shake my head, sigh, and move on. My Facebook friends now number 39, one third what they used to be. But I actually enjoy Facebook now as the people that have remained post interesting links and comments. Maybe not friends close enough to confide my secrets too, but certainly friends to enjoy a bit of banter with that doesn't deteriorate into abuse and recrimination as the forum does. Because we have similar interests, have similar intellect (which is not necessary for personal interaction, but is for a 'virtual' relationship) and a similar view of life.
There a story of ex-pats getting 'jungle fever' in Thailand. Living away from interaction with fellow English speakers or home comforts, being isolated and alone and slowly going crazy. Well increasingly that has been my life here and I love it. Although I might be crazy of course. But I used to dream as a child of living alone on an island (or perhaps with one particular mate) and this is the affordable version of that. With a Tesco Lotus relatively close.
It all started after my own company failed. I enjoyed working for my new job but we worked as a small team, isolated from the main headquarters, largely independent. It was a bit like running my own company but with resources. But that couldn't last of course and as that company ran into problems so the whole environment changed and I got frustrated by my inability to change its course. So I left and joined Philips which was a different beast altogether. And although we had a small team again with some autonomy changes were always vetoed by Holland. I was now a small cog in a very big wheel and I didn't like it. Increasingly we were driven by processes, we even had to fill in timesheets even though we did the same work every day. As they say, you had a fill a form in triplicate just to take a shit. I moved to Singapore, although still at Philips, and the corporate us and them mentality was even more prevalent, highlighted by the locals vs. the ex-pats who usually held the more senior positions. And then came the teambuilding, an exercise in squeezing any individuality out of people and making them conform to some corporate stereotype. Engineers became tools, like a screwdriver, to be used for the wrong purpose because it happened to be at hand, and anyone who didn't join the management streams was deemed a failure.
I moved to Canada and there was brief upturn before my bit of the company got bought out. More teambuilding, more sidelining as I refused to join the management sewer. And so we started our own company.
Personally it has never been different. I have never had many friends, for all of my teenage years my friends numbered one. I didn't meet up after work much. I avoided corporate functions, I always seemed to get sick before school parties and I had relatives conveniently die the day before teambuilding days.
I don't do teambuilding at work and I see now reason to surround myself with people I have little in common with personally even if the option is to be alone. But I am not alone. I have the Internet, I have my thoughts and my projects which I can completely immerse myself with instead of wasting time talking shit, (shooting the breeze they call it), with some ex-pat. Of course I have Ploy. And I have Pinky. And I have my fish on Friday.
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