The Basis of Optimism is Sheer Terror – Oscar Wilde

I just rode a motorbike across town which I have decided to cut down on. To be recklessly brave or naïve is a luxury of youth has proven to diminish with time. It’s a killjoy to realize how important the people in my life are to me and how much I mean to them as I speed down the highway envisioning my own death.

The motorbike driver oddly reminded me of Dad and he gave me a helmet, so I went anyways.

This week there has been an epidemic of disgusting shrimp being put in my meals. They are dried salty shrimp smaller than a fingernail and they keep finding their way into my food – not sprinkled on top as something tolerable, but smashed up in my food with hundreds of tiny black eyes staring back at me. I said vegetarian when I ordered my papaya salad today (feeling kind of silly since it was a salad). Evidently shrimp are not regarded as a life form in Thailand because my salad is currently watching me blog.

I accidentally ended up at the Red Shirts Memorial Rally the other night – 10,000 Red Shirts, 4000 Police and dozens of trucks prepared to detain arrestees. I had stumbled through smaller Red Shirt rallies before and I have always been captivated with how aggressively they are portrayed by the media when they are actually quite kind. With the exception of political banter and photographs honouring victims, it felt like a fireworks celebration.Families sat together sharing food while kids fell asleep on their parents shoulders and everyone greeted us smiling without the intention of selling us anything. It was incredibly peaceful except for knowing what happened the year before. I couldn’t help picturing being trampled at the sound of a gunshot but the energy was memorizing enough that I couldn’t leave either.

It was inspirational to see so many people congregating in peace. Fireworks bare drinking and protests are fuelled by people joining the cause solely for the fight – this felt like a family reunion of 10,000. The smiles on the Red Shirts, the hesitation in the policemen’s eyes and the innocence of the children stripped away the politics and reminded me of how human we all are.

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