Anyhow, today I do feel like shite. For those of you who don't know what shite is, it's British for shit. I've hung out with enough Brits and been to the U.K. often enough that I feel comfortable using the word SHITE. Maybe it's because Bangkok has been raining every day for the past week, it's hot as a witches' ***, and I sleep like shit every single night unless I pop a Valium or Dormicum (which I hate and generally refuse to do). I usually only sleep four or five hours if I'm lucky and it's almost never like hotel sleep. You know, the kind you get when you sleep in one of those beds with extra padding and a nice thick blanket, and the room is cold? I'm sure some of you know what I mean.
I think I simply have the rainy day blues. I don't mind it being hot. But when it's hot, sticky, and raining, I start getting pissy. Plus, I spent all day Saturday dealing with that f*****g internet company from hell known as True. For those of you who come here all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed thinking Thailand is the greatest paradise on the planet, come live here. It can be a fantastic place to live, make no mistake about this, but if you're living here, sometimes you need to zone out and overlook the lousy service, racist attitudes, and taxi drivers who try hitting on your wife.
Of course, I have no problem telling a disrespectful driver in Thai to shut up, I understand Thai, and she's my wife. I have no problem informing him if I were Thai this would be viewed as a serious breach of protocol. I would have no problem pulling a Rocky Marciano on his ass either but I'm a little old man now and promised my wife I wouldn't fight anymore. Confrontation has a way of finding those who want it but since I would prefer not to be hacked to death by some Ya-ba crazed taxi driver looking for a reason to get all Congo-like on the foreigner, I try to speak tactfully, while smiling. After being in Thailand for so many years, of course, no matter what, I smile.
A few weeks ago one of my YouTube viewers told me he thought I went too easy on a guy who wrote in asking how he should feel about some girl who was probably slutting around with every Tom, Dick, and Somchai. I told him there was no reason for me to be nasty and it doesn't cost a thing to be polite. The truth is, sometimes I want to say exactly what I want to say. I want to get shitty and attack the consequences head on. This is me. This is the true me.
Before I complete my rant, if you want to get to know me, here's a condensed version of a story that illustrates my darker side...and no violence of any kind was involved. Only a little bullying.
Many years ago, after our second son was born, the wife began bugging me about getting life insurance. Now, I'm in no hurry to die, but considering I always want my family to be provided for, I agreed. She's not the type to off me (or is she?) so get that out of your head. She may want to give me the occasional smack but unless self-preservation were to come into the equation, I feel safe.
Anyhow, I contacted a representative from ING here in Bangkok. I used ING Direct (now Capitol One) and felt comfortable using the company. So I go in, apply for the insurance, and I'm told I need a physical. They're paying so I don't mind.
I take the physical, then call and inform them I have done what they asked. "Someone will contact you shortly sir." The next day, a woman calls and asks to make an appointment to see me. "Okay, no problem," I said.
We meet at Vejthani Hospital, which used to be across the street from my house, and she begins going over the available plans with me. "Yea, yea, yea," I said, "bottom line, how much?" We agree on the best policy, I go to the ATM, and I give her around 6000 baht, which if I remember correctly, was for two or three months. "Thank you," she said. She was sweet, attractive, a little sexy, and dealing with her had been a pleasurable experience.
"We will contact you shortly to let you know if you're approved."
What? Approved? Oh yea, they need to look over the results of my latest physical. I knew it was going a bit too smoothly.
The next day, almost 24 hours to the minute, she calls back. "I'm sorry sir, we can not approve you. Medical problems."
Hmmmm..."Can we discuss this in person? Is there any way I can get approved?
"Yes, sir, absolutely. Would you like to meet tomorrow at the same place?"
The next day, we meet and she's there just like last time, all smiles, looking well put together and business like. There was actually not much to discuss. My health and the fact I had sustained numerous injuries in a fall from the fourth floor, coupled with some slightly high blood pressure, meant no coverage from ING, the company I once felt comfortable using. There was in fact, no way I was ever getting approved by this company.
"Okay, okay," I said. "No problem. Can I just have my money back, please."
"Yes sir, it will take approximately thirty days to refund your premiums."
"Say what?" All the sudden, this young, vivacious woman became the enemy and we were involved in the Cold War. Her polite demeanor and good looks meant nothing to me. "I gave you the money yesterday. Why can't you give me the money back today?
"Can not," she said. Now, if you don't know a thing about Thailand, the words CAN NOT are used quite often. There is usually no reason given for their use.
"Can you please take the pickles off of my cheeseburger?"
"Can not." Smiling all the while, of course.
Well, hearing these words ignited my mean streak.
"Unacceptable," I said. "You get me my money back NOW, or I'll go to your office and get it myself!"
"But, but, but...I'm sorry sir, can not."
"Bullshit! Get me my money, now!"
She reached into her purse and grabbed her phone, frantically dialing. She covered her mouth, whispering in Thai. "This farang, very crazy, what should I do?"
She gets off the phone and again I hear the three words I hate to hear, "Sorry, can not."
I stood up, walked over to her, and said, "Get me my money, now!" I stood direct in front of her, purposely intimidating her.
She started shaking, then sobbing. "But, but, but..."
I didn't care. Her company had taken my money prior to accepting me as a customer and now, after denying me, did not want to return the money for thirty days. If a company doesn't want my business, oh well. Do without my cash, I could care less. But to take a customer's money, then abjure them, was an abhorrent business practice. To do so while smiling, made it even worse. I wanted my money and I didn't care if she cried until she dried up and withered away and like the Wicked Witch of the West.
"One moment," she said, deftly wiping away the tears. She got up, gracefully I must add, walked the twenty or so feet to the ATM, and withdrew 6000 baht. She walked back over, handed me the money, and kept repeating, "Sorry, sorry. I am sorry."
Okay, I get that she was sorry. Maybe she was sincere, maybe not.
Looking back, perhaps I was a bit...overstated. Even slightly abusive. But male or female, if I feel someone has done me wrong, this is how I am. I'll reduce a petite, attractive 95-pound woman to a blithering puddle of tears and feel absolutely no emotion...until later. I believe one of my friends put it best, "You were brutal."
Maybe, but I was definitely a bully. Not one of my finer moments and this was certainly not a great display of my people skills.
I realize the 6000 baht wasn't the issue. The fact the company denied my application wasn't the issue either. She caught me when I was having a bad day, for sure. But she, or rather her company, broke a cardinal rule. They took my money, didn't give me anything for it, then thought they could hold on to said funds. I'm sure they had done this many times and no one said a word.
"Thirty days, okay. I guess I'll just wait."
I wasn't so patient.
Now you know the real me. Sometimes, holding back is just not my style. Sometimes, when used sporadically, it feels good to get mean and nasty.