Stories sadly told
I went out this morning with Alin to get her new glasses. She has not been able to afford to get a few things done and this was one of the last things. We went to an optical shop and she had an eye exam and picked out glasses for regular wear. They cost about half of what similar glasses cost in the US and Mexico. I also found out I can bring my prescription in from Merida Mexico and they will fill it. I can get new glasses with a two week wait and pick out new frames and get new lens too. This was what happened before and I had left after sending Alin and her Khmer friend to the market.
I decided to stop at some coffee shop and get an iced latte. Easy thing in Siem Reap to find. There as I was sitting and watching tourists walk by, I met this disabled American veteran who had his money stolen at a dinner last night and then could not get a western union picked up because his passport was at the passport agency. So, it was a damned if you do and don’t kinda thing. He has PTSD from time in the US armed forces so stress does not work well with him. I felt for him deeply. I have not had the same thing happen but living here in Asia for years, had similar things. I walked over and asked him if he needed some help and he joined me at the coffee shop table and told me his story. He had no money to buy food. Does not drink any more since it messed with him too much and just wants to now leave Cambodia because he feels the entire place conspires against him and the people employ a double standard dealing with him and Khmer. The main thing was he had no money and could not get the money in a western union telegram. I gave him $50 in Riel so he could have some food and then work on getting his passport back. He offered to pay me back or give me his contact information. I told him no. I was honored to help a US veteran and I understood why he would feel that way about Asia having all his money stolen from his backpack by Khmer people. Alin listened and said she could have helped him get his money if I had my passport. There is always a way to do things here especially if you have a Khmer person willing to help.
Instead he walked over to the market to buy some food to get through a few days until his passport comes back and he can pick up the money his dad sent him. I was very impressed with him leaving the US and deciding the world was the place he would look to find himself. It takes courage to face a world the way it is now with something like PTSD. More than that decide to go. To find a place to live where he could thrive on his money each month.
In a week he will go to London and then fly to Buenos Aires. His life awaits him. I told him he would find happiness on his road and he thanked me, shook my hand with a firm handshake and walked to the market.
Sometimes I figure there are sad stories with happy endings and perhaps his will become good when leaves Asia. Some people are not meant to be here but they are meant to find their way in the world. The United States is not fit for anyone to live in on fixed income or retired or both. It has changed so much and become so little.
Today evolves though…
I left the coffee shop after wanting to use ABA Pay but the barista had no ABA. She took a larger riel note to a money exchanger and came back laughing and gave me the change after deducting 5000 riel for a coffee. Even that struck me as funny here.
I decided today to take a day off from walking and do some bit of writing here. Maybe find words that shape my day today. Many good things happened. Alin got her glasses. She and I will go to a wedding tomorrow night. Maybe we will go to Angkor Wat again for an afternoon tomorrow to see 3 or 4 smaller temples. I met a person in need that is an American veteran. I helped him.
Then I walked on home and told Alin the story. She felt for the person too and I told her I gave him $50 and she understood. Now I sit in the room and walk through today a bit to write this blogpost. All the little in and out things which first make their way to my journal and then percolate on to the blog.
This is Mikes Thoughts after all. The place where thoughts, words and deeds become digital detritus. Perhaps you read here too. You find a nugget of a thing or not. I don’t really care. None of the words are for you. They are my words. Like the old saying,
that’s my story and I’m stuck with it
But there is always a chance to rise above. For us it took decades. For the American with no money and feeling anger, only minutes. Some stories indeed start sad but they can end on a positive note or even happily.
Why don’t you fucking blog? Tell me your story and link to mine. Create the words that line your life and it all starts on a thing you own.