Mastodon Michael Perry

Working at Playing

Got home last night at 9pm. The minivan driver was heroic and managed to make us all happy and pull in early at the station in Siem Reap. I always feel so good getting back to Siem Reap. It is like all the conditions are switched on and life just seems to be so much playing. This morning we had Khmer soup noodles and coffee out like our usual pastime. These are the mornings we work at play. Words travel and laughs ensue. Sometimes her daughter calls and we see her baby on Facebook. Someone asked if I missed social media or used it. I told them that Alin is our social media manager. I don’t care for it any longer. I stopped trusting their missions with my privacy and security years ago but Alin manages it all well.

After our coffees I decided to go walking to the bank so I could remove money from one account to deposit it in another. I found out that CapitalOne had locked my debit card even though they said they had not and I could use it. I sat downtown with a Mango shake and called Alin. She tells me,

so what honey. Just go have fun. Do what you want to do

So I did. This play thing included walking home and sweating big time but it felt so good to find those steps. Some may say walking is work but it really is not. It is like the mind putting one step in front of the other. Stretching out into play. Ignoring all those things like timelines and tasks and responsibilities. We are creatures of play you know. Some things come and go like my debit card did. There is no point in getting mad or feeling irritated. There is nothing I can do when it is 3am in the US and the bank is closed and won’t open again until it does. I can fix it tonight and go tomorrow again. Do the same deeds.

So I played with the sunshine and the pool and my Kindle. Almost finished a book. I’m getting better at playing reading folks!

I also looked back at Vietnam this last time. It did not seem so much fun because it was not play. It was work. I think when Alin and I crossed over to a week in a place instead of the usual month I have done, we became tourists and we don’t play so much any more. Everything is finite when you are a tourist. Even the tours you go on. So in the spirit of the tourist, here is my tourist photo.

We were busy working at being tourists on our tour to BaNa Hills. Our guide wimped out and had to rest and we old people carried forth going. So we worked. Worked at seeing the bridge and the village and all the little and big things. Maybe the biggest thing was the Golden Bridge with the hands.

Even this was work though and not play. Work to make it there. Work to only have one visit even though we asked the tour guide for two visits. He had his agenda and he was sick.

In the end I wrote…

Such a difference between being a tourist and a vagabond. It used to be for me and even earlier this year I dawdled along on a month in Hanoi. I took long walks to strange little alleys. I never judged whether I had finished. I played.

This time it was work. And perhaps that’s the difference between doing a tourist thing. We work on the doing of it. We have limited time to do it. We have agendas and plans. Is it any farce that part of the word tourist is tour?

I think not.

Look for something longer for me in the works on this because I felt this keenly this last time. No complaints but I really disliked the whole working at being a tourist thing instead of playing at being a vagabond. I feel strenuously when we hurry it all up we lose sight of the things we rush by. Sad really but I think I knew it when I looked at the differences in time and space with this last trip. And I wondered…

did Alin enjoy being the tourist?

I don’t think so. It became a race to do a single thing and then not do some others I had wanted. I had this vagabond-like goal of showing her these sleepy little streets with coffee houses and wonderful eateries down side streets that always welcomed me from 2018 to 2021. But we never get the vagabonding back when we tour.

Sad to say.

April 25, 2023

Done and done