Essential Services

The new way to ride in an elevator

Many of you will misinterpret the statement below, but I promise I mean this in a wholesome and decent way.  

There is nothing much better than paying a total stranger for close physical contact. 

Until I started this job, the thought of a stranger touching me, was bothersome. I flinch. I’m tense. I’m ticklish.  It just didn’t seem like my idea of a good time. 

I’ve since succumbed to addiction, and Thailand enables this. With an abundance of sub-5 foot muscular people, an adequate massage is cheaper than a movie. Heck! It’s only a little more than a McD’s value meal. And there is nothing like having them try and rip your limbs off.

And for the last 6 weeks, they’ve all been shut. And, it’s really put a cramp in my back, nay, my entire being..

How we wait for an elevator
Temperature Scanning

This weekend, though, with the number of new cases in single digits and no recent fatalities, there is movement toward awakening a moribund economy. Traffic is building. Store fronts are lightening up. Brooms are sweeping. It is as if Spring is coming. 

The infrastructure changes are subtle, but everywhere. Temperatures are scanned everywhere. Door people are posted with masks and face shields and thermal scanners. My temperature is scanned so often, I think that I could time the exact moment of ovulation, if I were so equipped.

Socially distant seating with barriers in place.

Seats are cordoned off. Socially distant lines are taped to the ground everywhere.  And Thais all follow them. Hand sanitizers are plentiful. Masks are required in public. Even for a jog in the park.   

Nearly all here are accepting that masks help the general public. If you walk down the street without a mask, a path is cleared before you. The respect and love for elders is so great, no one wants to be the one to off grandma or grandpa.  

It’s sad to hear people talk of the fact that they’ve not seen their parents since January. But the collective does it for the greater good.  

For a good chunk of April, the sale of alcohol was banned. Through the tracing of cases, it was determined that many cases were spread when people gathered to drink, so the government banned all sales entirely, with very little notice. This was not a popular decision, at all. 

But, with the addition of a curfew, several things happened. The number of COVID cases attenuated. And the number of driving accident deaths plummeted.  There was talk of extending the ban indefinitely, but less sober heads have prevailed and sales have resumed to individuals, but the bars are still closed

So, what does this all have to do with massages? 

I want one. I need one. I will be first in line when the shops open up and I will tip generously in gratitude for their return. But, I can wait. Maybe another two weeks. Maybe a month. But, if it means someone’s mom or dad can be around for the next holiday, I’ll wait it out.  I’m sure they’ll return at some point. Or we’ll figure out a way to adapt. Until then, I’ll tolerate my achy back.

Categories: Thailand

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