‘Frogger’ was More Fun when George Played it.
Tales from the trenches…
We have been walking once a day. On some of these days, we stop into a store if, there are no crowds. We only look for a few items at a time, for fear we might be interacting with people for too long. Our usual spot is the, Tesco-Lotus at the intersection of Sukhumvit and Sukhumvit 50.
Ed wanted to change the scenery today and we walked further, to the Big C Supermarket on, On Nut. It is about a 30 minute walk on a normal, non-distancing day. Today it took a lot longer. I was not too happy about the change in our usual itinerary. We really only needed a few items. My cleaning supplies are dwindling and I wanted to get some smoky meat for the red beans I am I soaking. While sometimes in marriage you have to compromise, I have to ask myself if any of the items we are purchasing are worth us risking possible exposure to the virus. But, Ed wanted to ‘spice up’, our Corona-days. So, we walked to Big C.
A walk to the, ‘Big C’ requires us to be adept at avoiding people. Thai officials told everyone to work from home but, from our point of view …..the crowded sidewalks and roads filled with vehicles, this is not happening any time soon. So, caution and hyper-vigilance are important attributes of our walk. I am glad we did this in the morning, after our coffee so, we were more alert. But, I really hope, the government implements harsher rules soon.
Our walk today was reminiscent of the Seinfeld episode when, George Costanza is trying to maintain his high score on the ‘Frogger’ video machine. He has to keep playing the game in order to keep his score up, while at the same time, he needs to relocate the game across a busy New York Street. As he weaves in and out of the cars driving on the same street, it appears to the viewer as though, George is playing his own, real-time game of ‘Frogger.’ In the end, he loses because, he didn’t have a long enough extension cable to cross the street. Some days, I feel like we need a bigger extension cable, too.
I often use this episode of Seinfeld as an analogy to help friends and family picture Ed and I, attempting to cross a Southeast Asian Street. I guess we have graduated to another level in the game because, we have a new ‘challenge,’ to overcome- ‘social distancing while traversing a Southeast Asian sidewalk or, grocery.’ We made it home today but, only after a number of close calls. So, I guess we are still earning points?
The sidewalks in Bangkok have additional ‘impediments’ to worry about. For example, today we had to avoid the spit emanating from a mentally ill person , not wearing a mask, who was weaving on the sidewalk and screaming at imaginary people. In this game of ‘Frogger,’ we get points for wearing a mask to prevent getting his ‘castoff’ in our mouth.
There are also a number of small vendors set up along the sidewalk selling masks and hand gel. The masks are handmade and really thin and I can’t help but, wonder if they will help prevent the passing on of the virus or, hinder our ability to prevent it.
Some of the vendors sell fruit or, soup. People line up to purchase these items and there is less room to walk on the sidewalks. Some persons are considerate but, many are pre-occupied by their phone or, their friends and in addition to blocking our way they are not ‘socially distancing.’
And, there are also, the disabled musicians and cookie sales persons. Rather than beg for money, many persons who are blind or have been injured or born with birth-defects, will set up a small speaker on a sidewalk and sing to the passers-by. Or, they set up a table and sell brownies or, cookies.
Today, we encountered two of them. One persons was blind and he was standing. The other had some physical issues with his legs so, he was sitting with all his equipment around him at the foot of the stairs we needed to take to cross the road to get back to the side of Sukhumvit where we live. These stairs also, lead to a transit station so, they are necessary and busy. Do we get points if we donate money to him? Do we get points if, we can successfully make our way around the performing man without rubbing against the others also attempting to get to the stairway?
I was reminded today of, how important all of these things are to our safety., As we were, ‘Frogging’ our way home we passed a local police station being evacuated. The doors were opened and people streamed out followed closely behind by, men/women in hazmat suits and intense masks who were, spraying them with some sort of ‘anti-bacteria-disinfectant’ spray. We hypothesized from reading about these events, there must have been someone with the virus who visited the station or, works in the station. And, while the disinfecting was a good thing, the lack of social- distancing while doing so, was defeating at least some of, the effort.
In the end, we avoided most of the hazards of, ‘Frogging’ to Big C, today. We got our cleaning solution, smoked meat and too many other impulse buys. We encountered a number of people, tables, singers and things. But, we made it home with only a few close calls. Today was a win. Every day we make it home safely is a HIGH SCORE day.