Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thai Chi

We've been watching a naked Thai person through a crack in a fence for several days now.

It's not how it sounds.

We often go to the soup lady for breakfast, because she makes the best rice soup in town and she only charges a dollar for it. She also makes noodle soup for a dollar, but we've been told that Thais don't eat noodles for breakfast, (that would be absurd) so we eat rice soup. Across the lane from the soup lady's restaurant is a house that's a bit of an anomaly in this neighbourhood. It's a two-story house that would fit in pretty well in any American suburb built in the 1960's, except that it has a nice banana grove in the front lawn. It does have a front lawn, however, making it one of maybe five houses with lawns out of the thousands of buildings in this part of town.

Instead of a white picket fence, though, it has a 2 1/2 meter high concrete wall around it. All the private open spaces in the neighbourhood are fenced off. This is nothing unusual. Instead of a white picket gate, the house has a large spike-topped vehicle gate made out of white plastic fence pickets decorated with simulated wood grain. The pickets are about 15 cm wide each, and the gaps between them are only 2 cm wide.

The pickets of the gate present a visual barrier that is effectively impermeable to casual passers by; you can't really see much at a glance. If you stopped and looked through a gap, you'd see everything in the yard. And if you sat eating rice soup at the sidewalk restaurant across the lane, you'd have a broken view of the house and yard; you wouldn't be able to fully make out everything, but you'd have a pretty good idea of what that yard contained, and especially of what was happening immediately inside the gate.

So, if, for example, a middle-aged Thai man, naked to the waist, came out of his house and stood next to his gate to rub his naked belly and chest in the morning sun with his self-loving hands as a warm up for his little tai chi routine, you wouldn't see him well enough to recognize him on the street, but you would know exactly what he was doing. And if that Thai man pulled his trousers down to his knees to expose his genitals to the sun for some minutes, and on some mornings, vigourously test the flexibility and elasticity of those genitals, (not masturbating, mind, just giving himself a good working over) you'd know just what he was up to.

And if you were anything like us, you'd snort into your rice soup and have a good giggle at that Thai man.

The moral of this story: solid walls obscure sight lines; property lines do not. You're not invisible inside of your yard.

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