Jomtien, 6th December, 2009

Today I have been sober for 98 days.


There is a postscript to my “falling out” with my two friends of over 30 years standing.


I received an email from Bob in which he was effusive in his thanks to me for my so-called ‘help and support’ in keeping him sober during the past few months. I replied to the effect that I felt he was being very Machiavellian in the way he had behaved towards me and indeed, was continuing to behave to Dave. He replied to say that he was shocked that I should think such a thing. Well he would wouldn’t he?


Anyway for the time being, and quite likely forever more, that chapter in my life is now closed and the new, “unshackled Mobi”, will set forth to tilt at a few new windmills.


Yesterday I went to my regular morning meeting and then did some food shopping with my latest “nearest and dearest” – most domestic of me. Then I went for my daily walk along the beach at sunset, and topped it off with the ultimate in domestic bliss –   a dinner out with my lady togthere with a friend and his wife. It was by away of a ‘thank you’ to the couple who have been negotiating with my wife regarding the sale of my house. We dined at a lovely little steak house in Jomtien, which was air conditioned, had real cloth table cloths, classy menus, soft background music and excellent service. The prices – even for imported meat (although the local meat was equally as tender), were very reasonable and very tasty. My guests had a couple of glasses of wine served in coffee cups (as it was HM’s birthday) and my lady and I just had sodas. My lady enchanted both of my guests by her beauty, intelligence, and her sensible discourse. My friend wondered at my ability to find such a gem!!


Today I decided to take a day off from AA meetings, and have spent the day at home doing a number of chores that were overdue, and also an hour or so teaching my lady how to download photos from her camera and copy them onto CD’s, and also how to burn music CD’s. She picked it up first time, and is no doubt a pretty smart cookie.


MOBI’S STORY – (PART 20)



THE RETIREMENT YEARS.



It is a truism that one tends to remember the happy times in the past rather than the miserable times, and often our schooldays, long ago holidays and other memorable occasions in our lives are recalled through “rose tinted glasses”. To a certain extent I am no exception to this, but I find that the more I start to put my brain to the task of recalling those days detail, the more I recall not only the fun times but also the bad times as though in  stark relief.


My family’s North American adventure, which we embarked upon within days of my retirement, is a case in point. It was about this time that I made the first inroads into my amateur writing career, and I decided to keep a detailed diary of our holiday, which would serve as a useful memento in years to come, as we would surely never do anything like that again.


If you were to read my diary of that trip, apart from a few subtle comments made in jest, you would never realise that although, on the whole, I managed to enjoy the holiday, my wife seemed to have done her very best to spoil it for both me and my daughter by her  unbelievably  bad and disturbing behaviour.


I wrote some 21,000 words in that journey diary, yet barely a whisper was written of the troubles my 14 year old daughter and I experienced from my wretched wife.


Here is what I wrote to wrap up the account:


“Under our own steam we drove over 3000 miles in Canada and exceeded 4000 in America. Then there was the five day coach trip through the Eastern USA.


The weather had been very kind to us, only a few hours rain during the whole trip. Once, just before we walked up the glacier in the Canadian Rockies and a stormy afternoon in Salt Lake City (where we spent most of the time pretending to buy a piano). Apart from that, mostly sunshine, with temperatures ranging from well over 100 degrees in the deserts of Arizona and Nevada, to the somewhat cooler 60’s in San Francisco.


Our favourite people and places?


I think we would agree that in general we preferred the Canadians to the Yanks. More polite and friendly, not so brash.


We loved the Canadian Rockies, and Samantha thought New Orleans was magical. I agree with her sentiments, but there was also something very special about the deserts and wilderness of Nevada and Arizona that caught my imagination. The Grand Canyon was unbelievable and the town called ‘Joshua Tree’ was mystical. New York was New York – The original BIG APPLE – a crazy fun city – much better than London in my opinion.


A great, once in a lifetime experience. Will we go back again? Samantha probably will, as she has her whole life ahead of her. I guess one day we may return to Florida with our Grand Children!!!  Canada deserves a return visit – so who knows – there’s still a lot of the world we haven’t seen.


We’ve brought home so many memories – some good, some not so good. In any event, definitely a holiday we’ll not forget in a hurry.”


Of course, my “then wife” also read my travelogue, so even if I wanted to be a bit more adventurous in saying what was really going on, I valued my sanity and life itself too highly.


It was during this holiday that I started writing a very private account on my laptop of some of the flare ups I had been having with my wife. It was the first time I had put “pen to paper” to record details of her insuffereable behaviour, and it was something I was to continue to do intermittently over the next three years, at which time  I edited extracts of  some of the more extreme accounts of her unacceptable behaviour, and presented them to my lawyer as grounds for divorce.


Here is an early excerpt that I have uncovered, that was written during our 2-3 nights in San Francisco:



“My problem


This is the first time I have attempted to put my big problem into written words.


I could probably write forever on this but let’s just take one day at a time and take today (more or less).


We’ve been on holiday for about 18 days. Things have gone pretty well all considered and not too many rows.


Mainly the rows concern the navigating/driving. I am doing all the driving because if she drives and I navigate, every time I make a tiny mistake in directions I will get it in the neck – big time. So the logic is as long as I obey directions whilst driving I should pretty much avoid argument.


Unfortunately it doesn’t work quite like that. As she will never accept that she is at fault or wrong, every time she makes even a tiny mistake she finds a way to blame it on me and hence a row. Incredibly, even though I am driving, it is my fault if we take a wrong turning.


This happened a lot when we were in Los Angeles a couple of days ago and the atmosphere got quite bad.


Today we arrived in Oakland, about 15 miles from San Francisco. After checking in to a motel, we went into town to eat and a “ drive around”. San Francisco is a nightmare – what with tramways, one way systems, interspersed with two way systems, traffic lights everywhere, etc etc. After parking to eat, we tried to drive to Union Square. After going wrong a few times she totally blew her top and blamed it all on me, went into a huge sulk and refused to navigate any more. Poor Samantha had to take over but even then SHE tried to interfere again and then blew her top for the second time in as many minutes). She then went into one of her really sulky moods, and when we finally reached our destination, SHE refused to get out of the car.


The following may sound trivial:   Today, when I ordered my eggs “Over easy” she accused me of being stupid and saying it the wrong way round. I assured her I was correct. She wouldn’t have it. Finally got the tour ‘phrase’  book out and showed her I was right. She never acknowledged she was wrong or apologised. Then as we drove back to the Motel from San Francisco she insisted that we should take a particular turning off the main highway and I very politely pointed out that she was mistaken. Again I was proved to be right, and her wrong. No acknowledgement, no apology.


I think she probably hates me. She always puts me down and tries to make out how stupid I am. Most of the time I go along with it and agree with her – anything for an easy life.


At the end of the day I don’t really care if she doesn’t apologise, or if she derives some kind of diverse pleasure in putting me down – what I can’t stand is the never ending, moody, aggressive behaviour. I’m constantly on edge waiting for the next tantrum. How can we ever be happy when her moods are so unpredictable?


I could never discuss this with her. She would never accept anything I say and would always twist it round to make her the innocent party and everything my fault.


I know I’m not perfect but I don’t believe I deserve to live a life of misery waiting for her next outburst or nasty put down.


I know I can’t take much more but will try to make it to the end of the holiday.”


In fact, I made it for another three years, but more of that, later.


As for my drinking during this trip? Well, it was probably more controlled than it had been for a long time. I made absolutely no attempt to drink and drive while I was over there, but did try and make up for it in the evenings when I would invariably buy a six-pack or two from the local convenience store. On some days I drove anything from five hundred to even a thousand miles, and it didn’t take too many beers to put me to sleep at the end of very long days.


Of course my wonderful wife, being Thai, slept in the car, and then fell asleep as soon as we checked in a motel, be it afternoon or evening, and slept as long as she felt like, and Samantha and I had to await our “lady’s awakening” before we could go out to eat. And then she would return to her bed and sleep all night.


So now, nine years later, I can honestly say that I do have some fond memories of that holiday – after all we travelled to some wonderful places and saw some incredible sights, so even with a moody, selfish and spiteful wife accompanying me, I still managed to enjoy myself.


I am not too sure about Samantha. Maybe next time I see her, I will ask her.