It was a sliding doors moment, though not so slick, so finely calibrated. Slow motion — but still a matter of timing. I was coming to a decision to leave Thailand — must have been early to mid March I think — an go back to Europe to look for alteranatives to my plan to commit myself to Red’s groundwater project. I was reconsidering everything, and succumbing perhaps to a desire at last to spend some more time in own language group and the culture of my own continent. I wanted to avoid making another mistake in terms of where I put my money and my effort. I wanted to get away from Red and her warrior heart for a while. I’d been offered a small apartment in Romania for 80 euros a month, and I was thinking of going there and just writing for a year or two.
But time had already run out on that plan. Suddenly everything was going haywire, and I realised that this was perhaps not the best time to settle somewhere where you don’t know anyone. So I decided to hang on until the crisis had died down, not realising the seriousness of the situation or just how unbelievably long it would drag out.
The Thai government granted a visa amnesty till the end of April, sparing me another weird masquerade at immigration. (Are these not the dullest masquerades ever held, the most insipid carnivali ever devised?) After that, I didn’t know. End of April would be way too soon to travel. I would have to stay on, legally or not. As the situation across the world got worse and worse, I looked at that field where Red wants to plant her agro-forest, where I’d spent three days thrashing around in the sugar crop helping the old man pull the hoses out, and thought, I think I’m going to have to do this.
Red needed my investment for groundwater irrigation wells, ponds and canals. Money that could sustain my writing for two years. But that alternative was off the table now. Events were forcing my hand.
So, go with it. Everything flows. You cannot step twice into the same river. You cannot know the good or bad of your decisions. Not until later.
So do something, at least. Can’t just sit here in this weird suspension, looking at the view.
This is where I was when the music stopped.
Roll the machines.
It seemed the right thing to do, times being so uncertain, as they keep saying. And fuck are they uncertain. But also strangely certain. The novel Corona virus, CoVID-19(84): long, dystopic, and predictable.
But interesting, without doubt.
Novel, these lockdowns. Unprecedented.
Uncertain times, they keep telling us. And yet so certain. Novel. And yet so predictable.