Mo went off yesterday to bathe elephants: see her Facebook post for pictures and for a sense of her delightful time.
I needed a day off. I have been fighting a cold for days, and I get worn down from transfers and sights. I stayed back to read, write, and do chores.
The day before, Mo had purchased two cotton tops for the hot weather. She decided the fit could be better, so we asked a laundry for a place to get alterations done. Left here, right, 200 meters, we were told.
Left, right, and 200 meters later, we found a diminutive Thai woman sitting behind a mid-1950s battery-powered sewing machine and surrounded by clothes and bags taking up two-thirds of the sidewalk. A male customer was sitting on a wooden stool as his order was inspected and bagged.
Our turn. Mo described in a few words and lots of gestures what she wanted. When the woman understood, she wrote down 120 and said "Tomorrow."
So one of my day off chores was to retrieve the shirts while Mo washed elephants.
Around mid-day I shuffled off in tbe heat. Left, right, 200 meters, there she was.
I used my phone translator app to tell her why I was there. She looked a little unhappy as she scrounged for the orders. Sbe found the bag, looked worried, then said "One o'clock."
It was noon. I smiled, nodded, and shuffled off.
Our leader had told us more than once about Thai time. By and by, close enough, and whenever are close descriptions.
To fill my hour (close enough), I found lunch items at a grocery and shuffled around a bit.
Those who know me understand my need for punctuality. I'd rather be 15 minutes early than one or two minutes late. I told myself to relax and not expect the order to be done at one o'clock. I told myself to be a little late, myself.
Habit took over, and I arrived back to the sewing spot at one. Exactly one.
The seamstress was not there. Another customer pointed away and said, "She coming."
A gentleman was there, tending his adjacent sidewalk scooter repair spot. Grinder, oil, lubes, and so on, were arranged around him. He knew why I was there and offered me a seat on a stool. I accepted. I offered him some of my lunch items. He declined. Now and then he'd get into the cab of his late model full-size Toyota pickup to use his phone. I realized he and the sewing lady must be partners, marriage or business or both, who use the truck to haul their business to the sidewalk. A low overhead location to be sure, though who knows who they might have to bribe to keep it.
About 1:09, the woman arrived. She had the shirts ready and showed me the work. I smiled, paid in exact change, and shuffled off.
Just an everyday moment in Thai time.