- Because lettuce -

3rd February '17

I think that I am living next to French people.

Why would God do this to me?

This is a blog that I'm writing with absolutely nothing I'm intent on saying, so I don't expect it to go on for too long. In the grand scheme of things, it's rather nice that so little has happened over the past couple of weeks that I have nothing to talk about though. The fact that my life has become a non-event, to me is a positive thing.

Although it hasn't been without its stresses, this has been the first term in a while where I've actually been perfectly calm and content going about my life, and I don't think it's coincidence that this is the first term in a while where I've stopped caring about learning Thai.

Without that distraction, it's been a very simple life where I have the time to do my job to the best of my ability, while still exercising enough, and cooking fresh food everyday, and spending time relaxing. The latter of those is what I've really missed over these past few terms, but without Thai classes, or a tutor, or a self-imposed obligation to study by myself, I actually have time to relax everyday, and it's making the world of difference to everything else.

When you're not short of time, exercise is more fun. When you're not short of time, planning classes is more seemless. When you're not short of time, you enjoy making longer, more elaborate meals. So having that time to relax, it's made every other part of my life enjoyable too.

And I can appreciate how it might sound like a waste of time, but having an hour or two just sat in front of the TV everyday, it's... it's kind of nice.

I just finished season 4 of House of Cards, which was perhaps an optimum time to do so seeing as it was mirrored with what Trump is doing in Washington at the moment. Apart from Breaking Bad, it's the only TV series that I can recall making it all the way through, to the point that I'm actually looking forward to season five being released on Netflix. So that someone puts it on Pirate Bay and I can download it for free.

And don't forget that, thanks only to an administerial oversight, I'm actually working more than I requested to this term. I've already submitted my preference form for next term, again preferring to not work very hard, so if I'm lucky that'll translate to even more free time.

One teacher is unfortunately leaving at the end of this term; the guy who was basically threatened with his job after flunking the irrlevant survey for consecutive years. I guess that seeing as the manager that saved his job is no longer around, he sees the writing on the wall and is jumping before he's pushed.

That might mean that there aren't enough teachers that I can't get an easy schedule, but... I'm hopeful anyway.

My only other work-related interaction with my new boss was to request a term off later this year, for the same eight weeks of July to September that I had last year. It seems to have been more or less approved, so his first impression of me is requesting to work as little as possible, and requesting to have a term off.

I do know how to make a good first impression. But what do you want from me? Why would I work hard when I don't need the money?

He actually seems like a nice guy though. For probably the first two weeks of the term, I didn't say a single word to him beyond his initial introduction.

That wasn't intentional, rather he stays mostly in the academic office, and I had no reason to go in there.

We did end up sharing an elevator down from the school one day though, so spoke for perhaps five minutes. He's a runner, and also goes running in Lumphini Park, although I'm yet to ever see him there. But it gave us something to talk about.

Other than that it's just been me asking for time off.

And what I'm hopeful for, is what I was hopeful for two terms ago; and that is to get an easy schedule next term, so that I have the time to both study Thai and relax.

If you remember, two terms ago I got the reduction in hours that I'd requested, only to be given three new levels to plan; something that's never even happened when I have been working a full schedule. That planning negated any free time I'd have otherwise had, all the while lightening my wallet.

Well ever the optimist, I'm hoping this time will be different.

It was never my intention to give-up Thai altogether this term, but it just kind of happened. When I wasn't forcing myself to study, other things like watching House of Cards, seemed preferable. And I doubt that it's coincidence that I've been happier as a result. There were three teachers at my school that found ourselves in the same boat this term though.

All three of us study Thai. They have both been studying for longer and with greater success than I have, but all of us started this year without any school or any way to progress.

And one of them did actually unearth something that I thought didn't exist in Bangkok; a reasonably-priced school that only requires you to study 2-3 times per week.

It's incredibly inconveniently located, being two trains away from where I live, but it's certainly a possibility.

I'm yet to speak to him to find-out how it's going there.

The other teacher put an ad onto Craigslist and found herself a new tutor; I think her third one now, but she seems happy so far.

I intentionally opted to do neither, partly to see how their respective situations play-out. Does either her tutor or this school sound like the right thing for me? Well I'll let both of them jump on these grenades and see how much they get blown up before committing to anything myself.

It was also a case whereby I was, and still am intent on going away for the next holiday; now just two weeks away, so why start anything when I'm about to leave Bangkok?

The problem that I'm finding with holidays though, is that they always seem such a good idea when they're way off in the distance. The closer that they get, the more that they seem like a pain though.

All through this term, it's been my loose intention to go to the North of Thailand, probably to Chiang Mai, because... well I like it up there. The weather's cooler and there are more vegetarian restaurants. I want to go somewhere though, because apart from a solitary night on Koh Samet, I haven't left Bangkok since arriving back here in August, and it'd probably do me good for my eyes to see something different.

I've been thinking that all term. But as the holiday slowly approaches, all I can think is... man, can I really be bothered?

Even to fly there, I have to go all the way to the airport, fly up there, probably walk from Chiang Mai airport to downtown, stay in a hotel for three or four nights, eat in restaurants every night, fly back again...

Jesus. All the while I could have been sat in my apartment relaxing. You know what I mean? It just sounds so much work.

I probably will go away somewhere though, possibly before even writing another blog. And then once I get back, then I'll start studying Thai again... apparently.

It's kind of a hard sell when without that stress I'm actually happy and enjoying life again. But at the same time, I'd hate to think that I tried and failed. So I guess we'll see.

Maybe I'll get lucky and humanity will die-out before I have to make a decision.

What?

Hey, it's already started.

Most people might see that BBC article and think that it's just been a bad season for crops. I wish that I saw the world in such a positive light.

I said this in a recent blog, but I often wonder at which point humanity will peak because... well we act as if it's not going to happen. People always plan for the future, they're focussed on the technologies of the future, without accepting the reality that at some point, there will be no future.

What I mean, is that nothing lasts forever. The growth of humanity cannot last forever, and I would make a baseless prediction that the earth cannot support the 11 billion human beings that are predicted to be alive in the year 2100. There's already a vegetable shortage evidently.

If I'm right, then at some point in the next 83 years, the population will have to cease growing, and I don't think that's going to be by choice. I don't think that people are just going to stop breeding. In which case how will it happen?

Disease? War? Floods? Starvation?

I'm just saying. Maybe this is just a bad lettuce-growing season in Spain, but what if next year is too? And the year after that?

Too negative?

Yes, probably too negative. I don't like being unprepared for things though, and most people seem to be oblivious that everything peaks, and that nothing lasts forever. Nature has never once allowed a single species to maintain dominance indefinitely.

You think that the dinosaurs ever thought that they were going to be wiped-out?

So I'm just saying that, considering no species has ever been this dominant or this advanced before, then there's a good chance that humanity will peak within my lifetime.

In 1930s Germany, Hitler rose to power on the promise of bread and work. I know that from watching 'The World at War' while exercising.

It was less than 90 years ago that the promise of bread was enough to make you leader of a European country. Nowadays people are more worried about what features the iPhone 8 will have; I know I am. Never once in my lifetime have I had to worry about having nothing to eat. At some point it will all peak though, and I don't envision humanity ever making it to a world of flying cars. Things will crumble before we ever make it that far.

Maybe we'll make it to an iPhone 15. Maybe even an iPhone 20, or a Playstation 10. And yes, that is how I measure the progress of the world.

Eventually progress with stop though, and people will die. They have to, no? And what if we're reaching that peak now? What if this lettuce shortage is just the start of a food shortage? Then maybe we won't even make it to an iPhone 10.

And see, this is exactly why I should never write a blog when I have nothing to say; this happens.

For me, it's partly fun and partly terrifying to think about though.

Back in the real world, my two level 12 classes will have had their tests by the time that I write another blog, and I'm not optimistic for them, I'll be honest.

My other three classes, who don't have tests, are great. They're always on time, they study hard, they do the homework...

Either I'm just unlucky, or there's something about students at a testing level that means that they just don't give a fuck.

I think that I'm just unlucky, and God dammit it's frustrating. Although being of a less-stressed, more sound mind this term, I'm not letting it get to me like I did last term. What will be will be.

Do you remember that I have another student, of whom her boyfriend resembles a retarded Netanyahu?

His initial question to me was to check if his girfriend was mentally retarded, or something along those lines.

Well as someone who has already failed a test once and who got pushed back to my level, his girlfriend also has a re-test this term which... she has zero chance of passing. I mean, her boyfriend might be right, and I'm not saying that to be mean, rather it's just kind of the truth.

He certainly doesn't help things though. At least once every week, he's been lurking around outside my classroom to talk on her behalf. He treats her more like his infant daughter than his girlfriend.

This is an adult school; I've never once had to talk to anyone but my students, let alone mutliple times in a single term.

But when she fails the test, which she will, I can see him being a massive dick about it all and causing problems. That's something I'm looking forward to, as well as telling some of my level 12 students that they failed the test.

After which, I will go on vacation. I will go on vacation.

I'll probably go on vacation, so long as I can be bothered.

And then, in my dream world, I'll return to Bangkok with a schedule so easy that I can work, study Thai, eat well, relax, and exercise, all in a day.

We'll see how that turns-out.