Today it took seven hours all told to buy a scanner.
Yesterday my favourite neighbour’s niece lost her key, so he gave her his, so he finds himself locked out once he has driven his wife to work, so he wakes me up two hours before the time agreed. I treat him to orange juice and toast, give him my second mug of coffee and skim the Post. No time to shit. No time to shower.
We drive to the other side of the Bangkok moon. At that IT Mecca, shops open at 11am. We’re early, damn it, so we take a second coffee while we wait.
A round of three or four shops shows that plain scanners are out of fashion; it’s all integrated stuff these days – printers that scan and make phone calls and take your purse pulse and scratch your back.
In that one shop, there’s one HP ScanJet, so we come back to it and buy it.
As we go to one corner of the shop to test it, I notice a pile of a dozen Cannon scanners – sleeker and cheaper than the ScanJet! So we ‘un-buy’ the ScanJet and buy the Cannon.
End of story? Nyet. He needs to go to ‘that bookshop over there’ to buy a gobbledygook computer book it takes him fifteen minutes to decide not to buy. Then goes and says hello to ‘my friend over there’ and in another ten minutes will have bought three bootleg CDs to further his expertise in computer-ease.
As we are back in the car: ‘You don’t mind, do you, if we stop by my accountant’s? I have some documents to sign. But let’s have lunch first: I know a place famous for braised duck.’
The duck is worth the dozen or so miles it takes to reach it.
A further drive to another side of the moon brings us to a sprawling housing estate.
Half an hour later when he’s done, we retrace to the IT Mecca because ‘Oh shit! I forgot: you need an OCR program to convert your scanned images to text.’
Turns out I don’t, the ‘friend over there’ says: optical character recognition programs are only eighty percent reliable in Thai. The idea of buying a scanner is to have a digital way to forward to a typist a (picture of) a Thai text to retype as a Word file…
Finally back home, I turn on the air-con, he turns on the TV, drinks some more orange juice and takes a nap while I go out to smoke a cigarette. By the time he leaves to go and pick up his wife, seven hours have elapsed.
Add to this another three to scan as scan can, and it’s time for shower and shampoo.
Next time I need some IT item methinks I’ll shop on the net (he has told me how to PayPal my way out of those useless Visa and MasterCard Kasikornbank cards).