A few nights ago I walked down to the pharmacy to buy some earplugs. The street was quiet, with most of the evening activity remaining a block away, at the walking street market that is open every night here. Some of my neighbors were tidying up after the day, or standing around chatting. There were bugs congregating under the streetlights, holding church. The pastor was wrapping up and the cricket choir was starting.
And a small fiesty toot escaped me, on that quiet street where my neighbors were slowly wrapping up their day.
It was one of those walking toots that afflict the old and the pregnant. There is no way of knowing when they will appear- there is no holding back. They are sudden, surprising, and one of the ways that pregnancy takes your dignity and tramples on it, handing it back to you, deflated, folded, and tied with a little bow.
But it is not only my dignity that pregnancy takes. It has my heart, as well. I love this boy baby turning somersaults, those rolling fish movements that make me want the baby right now! I can't wait, I think. And then I ponder a little more, and think actually, some more months of sleeping at night would be nice.
Not that I'm sleeping at night. My elderly neighbor has trouble sleeping, and when she does, she watches TV at a volume (at all hours) that makes me fairly certain she is losing her hearing. I lie awake, with the television blasting into my windows, thinking of the Thai words I will need to tell her that it cannot continue.
But I never tell her. I chicken out. Thus, my little walk down to the pharmacy to get earplugs.
So I tooted my way to the pharmacy, catching a glimpse of one of the guys on my street hanging out with his inhaler up his nose. It's not an asthma inhaler, it's one of those menthol things you breathe into your nose when you're stressed out or smogged out. They're all the rage in Thailand. This man had successfully done away with one of the awkward parts of having a nose inhaler--moving your hand back and forth. His was just hanging out, stuck in his nostril. Convenient.
At the pharmacy, the pharmacy guy (I don't think he's a real pharmacist) asked me why I need earplugs, and I told him about my neighbor.
"How old is she?" he asked.
"Oh--I don't know. Seventy-five? Thai women don't ever look old, so I don't know," I said. "Now me... I will look old very quickly."
"No, no," the man assured me. "You can't be over... thirty?"
"Thirty-two," I told him.
I was well aware that he was trying to guess very low, and only succeeded in guessed two years younger than my real age. This was not actually the first time that day that I had a conversation about my age with a dude. Earlier, my friend Lucas from Poland told me that for months he had no idea I was pregnant. Then he asked me how old I was, and expressed surprise that I was only thirty-two!
"I would have thought you were older!" he said.
Ah... dignity and vanity... quickly slipping through my fingers, out into the ether.
I walked home with my earplugs, feeling pretty smug, knowing I would sleep that night and wouldn't be woken at 5:00 AM by Thai morning television. I didn't walk all that smugly though. These days I walk a lot like my elderly neighbor, actually. She walks slowly and painfully because of age. I do because sciatica is stabbing me in the right buttock. Sometimes it hurts so badly that it takes me a couple of seconds to get my right leg to swing forward. I have to swing from the hip, the knee doesn't obey.
Also, pregnancy doesn't bring as many food cravings to me as it does food aversions. I have whole days where NOTHING sounds good to eat. Or I may have a quick tickly craving, and I think- oh! what was that? I'm craving something sweet. Something sweet would be good, except of course, if it was, you know, sweet, because that would be DISGUSTING. And then I go and drink a glass of ice water, my food problems still hovering in the background.
And the baby turns somersaults, saying, Feed me, Feed me, Feed me. I do feed him. Mostly Som Tam- the spicy Thai papaya salad. And sometimes some cheesy toast. But by about 3:00 in the afternoon, eating is about as appealing as skipping through the sewer, and I still need to cook! Food! And food is so gross.
To sum up:
Food is gross
I have more crow's feet than your mom
I toot in public, and...
My right buttock is close to mutiny.
Only four more months to go!