Fishing For A Satisfied Mind
Johnny Cash sang that a man with a satisfied mind is far better off than a man with all the riches in the world. Reading through the submissions to Stickman it seems that not many men who come here have a satisfied mind.
We all come to Thailand seeking something. It’s a bit like going fishing. Back home I would go out trolling and occasionally hook up with a prize specimen. More often than not I would just catch a puffer fish, liable to blow up at any moment and go all spiky.
When I arrived here it was like going fishing at a fishing park. You know that no matter how you bait your hook you are going to catch something. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried fishing in the parks here, but they are mostly stocked with Pla Sawai. These are sleek, shark-like bottom feeders that put up very little fight. When you finally catch and cook one, you find that they don’t taste all that good.
So many of us start out here fishing in the parks, but that’s not where the tasty specimens are. You have to get out of the park and go deep sea fishing instead. It’s not easy. You have to have the right tackle and know where to go.
Let’s face it; going fishing in the bars is not exactly a challenging proposition. On the other hand we have all read the stories here from some guys who go fishing at the higher class (read: paying more for your drinks) discos and clubs who boast they never have to pay. Well good for them. Of course, we all have to pay in the long run. It’s just how up-front you want to be. Maybe they can hook up with a well-educated girl who is not on the game and is not after their money. The rest of us have to take our lumps and learn the hard way.
I heard a story the other day about a guy who met and married a girl he met in a chat room. I’ve been to those chat rooms and I’m darned if I could make head or tail of them. Each time I go on there seem to be about 20 people all making inane statements. It seems impossible to start a decent conversation, or even figure out who the heck you are talking to. Just as an experiment I set up an account on MySpace using a fake name. I even went to the trouble of doctoring a picture of myself to accompany my profile. Apparently I went too far with the crazy hair, and the black bar across the eyes. When I tried to start a conversation with one girl she must have looked at my photo and her next comment was, “Who is Dick? He’s scary.” (Dick is not my real name, by the way)
Oh well, so much for that.
But I digress. When I was told about this lucky fellow who met his future wife in a chat room, my immediate reaction was, “Oh boy! Another sucker.” I was wrong. He got lucky and she turned out to be well educated with a good job, and she came from a very good family. He flew out here for a weekend just to meet her and her parents, and from then on he was well on the way to achieving a satisfied mind.
When I arrived in Thailand I was one very dissatisfied man. I wasn’t comfortable back home, but I didn’t really know why. Oh, I could explain the things on the surface. You know, the rapacious women, the high cost of even getting to know one, the lack of easily available sex, high taxes, a tightly controlled society, the feeling that your life was going nowhere. All these things and more got me thinking that perhaps the grass was greener on the other side of the hill.
Now I was no stranger to Asia. I spent a few years in high school in Malaysia. I had already traveled twice to Thailand. So I did know my way around a bit. That didn’t make it any easier when I got here the last time. In those days there was no Stickman to turn to for guidance. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to spend the rest of my life here. I really only came for a week. That week was to change my life in so many ways. I spent it at the Mississippi Queen bar, now long gone, in Patpong. Yep! Every night you would find me bellied up against the bar ogling the girls with legs that seemed to go up to their armpits in their knee-high boots. Each night I would take a different one home and climb up those legs. Talk about a life changing experience!
I got a job without even looking for one and the rest, as they say, is history. Like many writers to Stickman, I spent countless hours, days and months chasing after any woman I fancied. Some were worth spending more than a few sweaty hours with, but when it all came down to it they were almost all bar girls. Maybe it was just my bad luck, but the ones who weren’t bar girls were a bit flaky too. One in particular had me going. We had been going out for about a month and I still hadn’t climbed into her panties. So I thought my luck had changed when she invited me to go with her for a weekend in Pattaya. On the appointed morning, she arrived in a car driven by a Thai guy. There were two kids in the back seat. She got out and introduced me to her husband and kids and told me that we were all going to share a double room at a top hotel in Pattaya. I was to sleep on the floor. I backed off and said thanks but no thanks.
I was getting tired of all the disappointments so I was pleased when one of my Thai friends suggested going out with him and a few of his friends to a disco. We met up at the Star Disco that was on the corner of Ploenchit and Rajadamri, where Gayson Plaza is now. We all sat outside in the reception area first to have a quiet drink and get to know each other. My Thai friend introduced me around and one of the girls instantly took my eye. She was cute, demure, and a bit shy, but she had a twinkle in her eye I found very attractive. We went into the disco and danced together and as the night went on we got to know each other.
I asked her out a few days later and she agreed. I was surprised when she turned up alone. Good Thai girls back then always brought along a friend for the first few dates. When I asked her about it she said she wanted to get to know me without anyone else around. I liked that. So we had a good time together and within twelve months we were married.
We both had our reasons for getting married, and on looking back now I can see that they weren’t the best. She was the daughter of the Mia Noi (minor wife) of a very rich Thai Chinese man. He had died a couple of years before so she had much more freedom than many of her other friends. Although she lived with her half brothers and sisters, she told me later that she never really felt she fitted in. She wanted to get away and have her own life and family. She chose me, poor girl.
Me? Even though I loved her, I really wasn’t ready for marriage, but how do you tell that to a girl who is determined to marry you no matter what? So I shrugged and slid into the marriage. All went well for a few years. We set up a business together and we were making good money.
I come from a big family so I wanted kids. She didn’t. When she told me that the marriage started going sour. It took several more years for me to get over my inertia and do something about it. We parted amicably. But during that time I resumed my old ways and started visiting bars and meeting other women whenever I could. She knew about it, but didn’t say anything. That was typical. She never spoke to me about the important things.
One night I took a girl to a hotel in Sukhumvit road. I thought it was safe as my wife was supposed to be at home. It wasn’t until three years later that she told me she had followed me and stood outside the door with a gun in her hand. In the end, she decided I wasn’t worth the trouble. Phew!
My next adventure was with a bargirl. If you’ve read my other submissions you have already met the volatile Daeng. That was an emotional roller-coaster ride I never want to repeat, although I did learn more than I ever wanted to about living with a bar girl.
Through it all I still had that empty feeling inside me, like I was missing a part of me. After breaking up with Daeng I told myself that I was through with long-term relationships. From now on it was just going to be one nighters and no commitments whatsoever. Hah! Isn’t it funny how life just throws you a curve ball when you least expect it?
There I was wandering around in a department store, free of Daeng at last. I wasn’t even thinking about looking for a new relationship. I was just there to feast my eyes on the eye candy. And that was when I saw her. She was standing behind a sales counter in her cute uniform and when she looked up she flashed me a big smile as I ambled by. I don’t think I took more than five steps before my brain kicked into gear and I said to myself, “Where are you going?” So I turned around and went back to talk to her.
She didn’t speak much English, but that was alright. I’d been in Thailand long enough to speak passable Thai and we spent the next 10 minutes chatting. When I left I had her phone number and I called her up to arrange a date. We started seeing each other almost every day and within a couple of months we became lovers.
Once again I started feeling a bit antsy. I could see this relationship was getting serious so I was preparing to tell her that perhaps we should cool things off when she dropped the bombshell. “I’m pregnant.”
Well, talk about another life-changing moment. I thought about it and then decided that perhaps it was time I did settle down and it might be nice to start a family. Besides, I did love her and it was obvious she loved me too. So we got married and our first child came along. That really changed my life. No more going out each night. Instead, I stayed home and helped look after the new little rug rat.
I won’t bore you with the details of our domestic bliss. It’s far less exciting than some of the adventures other writers here will tell you about. But I can tell you that ever since then I have had a satisfied mind.
So if you have been wondering “What’s next?” and you are feeling just a bit dissatisfied with the bar scene and all its problems, maybe it’s time to change your perspective. Try fishing in the ocean instead of the fishing parks. Get out and find yourself a prize specimen instead of a sleek bottom-feeding Pla Sawai.
You absolutely cannot argue with the advice in this submission. I really liked the title and its analogy within the story too. But whatever way you dress it up, the advice here really cannot be argued with.