Mom had asked me what I wanted for dinner and as usual I was neither hungry, nor could I provide any sort of good suggestion as to what we should be having. As I sat there, at the kitchen counter tearing up yet another credit card offer, trying to slip into my end of day mental coma, mom had suggested I help her make noodles. A dish that she commonly refers to as “my” “skillet meal”. Now although no skillet is involved in the process of making this particular dish, and I know she knows the difference between a wok and a skillet, I try not to begrudge her naming scheme. What I make really has no name and if it does I am sure she couldn’t pronounce it nor would she remember it. So I just agree and get to prepping my “skillet meal” for the family. Its a simple dish really. Wide rice noodles, egg, green onion, garlic, some sort of protein, etc, etc. Like I said its simple, it’s tasty, and its fast.

Well I made dinner, I plated it up for the folks, and we all congregated around the TV to eat and watch the news. My day usually consists of long periods of boredom interrupted by spikes of craziness, but in those long periods I read a lot of news, so at the end of the day watching a bunch of talking heads could not interest me less. But I was content to sit quietly eating my noodle concoction and slip further and further into the quiet part of my head.

On the news was of course the after math of the Burmese cyclones and the ensuing discussions as to aid and the Junta. This all led to a very interesting conversation. Now I don’t know if the remember me telling them of my little jaunt to Burma two years ago and to be rather honest I am not sure if I had told them much at all of my trip to SE Asia. I am pretty sure they didn’t ask to many questions upon my return as they are pretty much disinterested in things that have to do with Asian culture in general. I don’t know if I have mentioned this before but my parents idea of an interesting vacation and cultural experience is a trip though Thunder Bay (a place my father saw in a National Geographic many years a go and always yearned to go) in northern Michigan. I mean honestly Thunder freakin’ Bay. Most people remark about pictures of Bora Bora, The Amazon, or Sri Lanka, not my father. A man who has lived his entire life in the same city I have found is more than content to reach only as high as Thunder Bay when it comes to his traveling aspirations.

My parents both sat in awe of the shambolic way in which the events on the TV were playing out. Then my mother remarked, “Aren’t you glad you don’t have to live like that.”

Jolted back from my mental hibernation I gave a coy reply to the tune of, “Yeah it’s a beautiful country.” I continued on about my visit there was pleasant and how it really changed my life. My parents I must say were rather taken a back by my remarks. My father went on about how my going there was very dangerous given my US passport, how I shouldn’t have gone, how it was irresponsible.

I had finished my noodles and washed up. I sat back down and opened up this weeks Economist magazine, hoping to find something interesting, but my father insisted on beating the memory of me going to Burma to a bloody pulp. What did I do there? Was it dangerous? Why did I go? What was it that changed your life? All questions thrown at me in rapid succession. To which I just replied……………I could have been living like that, given the state of life around here I might have rather preferred it. I suppose that was the wrong this to say, because both of my parents went into rants about I should be more greatful. Greatful right, I am sure to be greatful for this extravagant life of confusion and despair. I know I am not Burmese and that I have no connection to Burma and the catastrophe, but I think you get my point. I could effectively be living in Korea, probably in rather squalor conditions, compared to the life in which I am afforded her in the States. Who knows what my life would be like over there, but the state of mine here isn’t really all that great. I mean I have lots of material rubbish, but what’s it really worth. I’ll tell you exactly, it’s not worth a hell of a lot when the soul is rotting.

Thats right maybe I will just ship off somewhere in Asia, to a wonderfully dreamy life in the sky. Where the rivers are bountiful, the drinks are cold, and the women are beautiful. Maybe I will………A man can dream……..can’t he?

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