A Man needs a Maid

I have been in the fortunate position of having the same maid, Tong, better known as Ms Yasothon, for many years. It would be nice to interpret this as an act of loyalty (totally undeserved) on her behalf to the nai, but I suspect her perman-ance may have a more practical reason — food.
Over the years our garden has developed quite a healthy number of papaya trees. Although she has no great attraction to ripe papayas, she hails from the Northeast and the presence of this fruit means an instant source of a vital ingredient for her favourite dish — som tam. Hardly a moment goes by without hearing the pestle hammering away as another shredded green papaya is pounded into oblivion.
Some years ago I suggested that maybe it would be more practical if she sold some of the som tam and earned a few bonus baht instead of eating it all. This foolish proposal, of course, initially got the response it deserved. Why go out and sell it when you can sit at home and eat it? Then after a while, one of those bicycle things used by noodle vendors — the sort you find yourself behind at traffic lights when you are in a hurry — took up residence in the garden. It didn’t do anything for a while — just lay there dormant getting rusty.
Then one morning I got up to find this cart, now most definitely a som tam and barbecued chicken stall, perched outside the front gate. There was great excitement. Yes, she had finally taken up the advice and decided to make some money on the side.
The one problem was that, as far as I could see, the only people eating from the stall were the maid and the approximately 29 other Yasothon relatives that seemed to be staying with her at the time. No one bought anything. All that had happened was that the location of the eating had changed — from the back yard to the front gate.