I boarded the plane for the flight home from Sri Lanka in a surly mood , one which dove a few levels deeper when truly – the second coming of John Candy from his Planes, Trains and Automobiles movie checked his ticket twice and confirmed with a smug smile that the aisle seat beside me was indeed his for the next few hours.
My forehead pressed even tighter against the window as I looked out it in such a forlorn way , unamused by the luggage handlers throwing bags onto the plane’s cargo area down below like they were hurling dead body bags into a grave. ‘Fuck my life’ I thought I said in my mind but apparently not.
“Why?” said the cartoonish small face of the man beside me.
I turned and gawked at the ridiculousness of how small an area his eyes, nose and mouth took up in comparison to his overall face.
“You look stupid, in particular, your face looks stupid because of the obesity of your body.”
Fuck did he ever come close to hitting the nail on the head , I gotta admit I was impressed even if his comment was doused in sarcasm. So for better or worse I decided to add some intrigue to the conversation by replying: “nope, I’m the girl who the meet and greet girl takes you to see inside the dungeon. The type of girl that only a particular set of men are interested in seeing.”
“I see” he said as he adjusted his equally small spectacles by pushing them up on his downward curved nose , one that was curved so much one might mistake it for a ski jump hill at the Olympics.
Then he offered “and what kind of services would such men be seeking? Hmmm” and damn if that ‘hmmm’ at the end wasn’t annoying as fuck, like he deliberately put that in there with the rising tone that we use in my language , but his felt cheap , almost condescending. So to back him off I told him the plain truth – just off by a day (the 8th as opposed to the 7th) …
“Well the gentleman I’m flying home to meet tomorrow, he’s asked me to shatter his testicle.”
I let that sit for a while, to let the weight of it marinade in the air like a freshly opened Beaujolais.
Then with a sickened look on his face , but not a natural one, again more of a condescending look that’s more fake than sincere he said rather accusingly “and you’re ok with doing that becaussssssssse” and he hung onto the S as long as he hung onto the ‘hmmm’ a sentence before.
“Because he’s paying me $3,000 bucks in USA money to do so” was my tart matter-of-fact answer shot back quicker than a gunslinger can get off a bullet.
Then just like that , he became totally uninterested in me. From the storage netting in front of our knees he took out a plastic black case and from it he unfolded a pair of Sony headphones, placed them upon his head and closed his eyes.
‘Huh’ I thought.
I mean, I’ll admit that sometimes when I drop bombshell lines like I was doing there I know almost every guy will be ever so intrigued at finding out more about me. But not Mr Clothes Pegs Salesman here , the one taking up the entirety of my right arm rest with his blubberous forearms.
So I bit my lip and paid attention to the runway disappearing below as we took off and held my gaze out the window until we lifted up into the haze of the clouds.
At that point I wanted to relax but damn if I could as this guys arm was hogging all the space that I normally conquer for myself. Not only that but for about thirty minutes the guy had just completely shut off like he was an android that put himself on instant power down mode. I don’t mind that he just simply detached himself from the small talk we were engaged in, but rather , I was intrigued by how putting on his headphones he just entered instantaneous hibernation mode. Fuck I wish I could do that.
I had done that once by accident a couple years back when I had gone to Chiang Mai to visit Jaa and was facing the long ten hour ride back with a splitting headache from my inability to sleep that week. Being born premature, I’m prone to skin rashes on my shoulder or back due to my sensitivity to allergies – or even dust particles. That’s why my condo is so spic-and-span clean , and it’s why I have to pre medicate myself before going away on trips.
Anyways, blah blah blah , to make a long story short, my shoulder had flared up that week and I was sans zzzz’s for about 4 days. Of all the places I find I can’t sleep the most, the absolute worst has to be on a bus. There’s just no way I can sit straight up and sleep to the humming of the tires on the freeway. So that day I happened into a drug store just outside the bus station and asked the guy if he could please give me something to help me survive the bus ride home. To get an idea of how tired I was, when I asked him I was in tears because it felt like somebody was grabbing me by my hair and slamming the upper left side of my head into a wall repeatedly.
The dude went into his ‘drawer of questionable things for sale’ and produced for my hand a strip of tiny blue pills. “Take one and you’ll be fine.”
Kk, bought them for 300 baht which if you know Thailand is crazy expensive as all meds here are dirt cheap. Took one 20 mins before the bus left … nada. As we were pulling out I decided to pop a 2nd one and wait 15 mins. Again, nada. So I took the 3rd and last one. With that same forlorn look I had pressed my head against the bus window and closed my eyes to wish my way back to Bangkok.
Next thing I knew the service girl on the bus was violently rattling my shoulder telling me to disembark and get my luggage. Then , you know this trick shot they do in movies where the camera rapidly tracks towards the actor and it looks like he’s in a time tunnel. Best scene I remember it from is from Jaws when Brody first got wind there was a shark in the water on the busy beach:
Trying to steady myself on the bus , to getting my luggage, to somehow making it to a seat in the lobby of those waiting to actually leave the station , was probably the closest I’ll ever to know what somebody tripping on heroin feels like. That was me in the dolly shot , one that lasted more than a few movie seconds. Turns out through some research 2 days later … yup that’s how long I slept those 3 pills off , that the guy had given me Zanex , of which 1 capsule is well enough to knock somebody out cold with as tiny a body as I have.
So here’s Buffalo Bob , all 300 lbs of him beside me, able to knock himself out with just as much ease , just with a pair of headphones.
Thus, without further adieu, I took both my hands and with one on his elbow and the other firmly gripping his wrist I lifted his arm up and heaved it across his body putting my arm in it’s place … a move I instantly regretted as it slipped ickily upon the sweat it had left behind. Fuck it , I claimed the territory, wasn’t about to relinquish it for nothing.
“Rude” was all he said.
“Men should offer women the space before taking it” I said in a huff.
“Rock Paper Scissors for it?” he retorted with a raised fist in the form of a menacing rock waiting to crush any scissors placed before it.
Didn’t expect that. Made me smile actually. And since I suck at rock paper shotgun , I made him a counter offer.
“You can have the space , briefly, for some insight on how you can power off like a robot.”
“Oh you mean the headphones” he suddenly said with a proud tone in his voice.
“I suppose, is that your ticket to some sort of paradiso?”
“It’s my ticket to some other realm of consciousness, don’t know about paradise though.
“I said paradiso, not paradise.” Ye, I was being a smart ass.
“Paradie, paradiso, tomato tomatto, same.”
Fuck I liked this guy. Liked his wit. Liked how he was comfortable with who he was, pretty much just like Del in PT&Automobiles eh?
So from that little back and forth, we got into quite the conversation about human consciousness , about sensory deprivation chambers , and ways people seek peacefulness. What an enjoyable few hours we had talking back and forth and I was totally lost in the exchange because before I knew it, the ‘fasten seatbelt’ noise alerted me to the fact we were beginning our decent into Bangkok.
And right there and then I cried.
Caught him somewhat speechless , and probably he didn’t know how to react because I tilted my head onto his shoulder as we descended into the clouds and he was even too shy or shocked to pat my shoulder, though he tried, twice.
Apart from the fact the vacation was a train wreck for me emotionally , I always get depressed when I have to fly back here.
But I guess the fact I just had a stimulating conversation , one quite unexpected, and was about to go back to a life of conversations full of “did you eat rice yet? Oh really? What did you have with your rice? How much? Where did you buy it” … all of those questions which is the conversation de rigeur in these parts and so grossly banal that it makes ones stomach turn. It’s returning to the void of intelligence which begets this place where I reluctantly have to call home, it makes me want to scream.
Y’all are asking me if I can do a session today, the 7th and the unequivocal answer is : no fucking way.
I need a day to forget that such conversations can be had , pack them up in a .zip file for long term storage in the back of my mind and let these 24 hours sink me slowly back into the cesspool of life which is Bangkok.
Sometime tomorrow the hate for this place will have covered my soul from which the penumbra of my mistress personality will once again begin to emerge, ready in time for my first session at 7pm Saturday evening.
But before then, I’m going shopping for those Sony noise cancelling headphones he had let me listen to. I had told him right then and there that is the thing I had been seeking , but I never got into why.
I need something to shut out Bangkok from my consciousness. I need to find a way to live here but not be aware of it and these headphones might just do the trick. After my massage tonight I’m going to hopefully disappear right here in my living room to some parallel dimension.
Who knows, might be that I happen across Del there , you’ll know if I have some new shower curtains when you drop by this week 🙂