With but a few hours remaining in country, after having extended my stay for 24 more hours of the Bangkok diversion, at the end of a two week repast in said locale, stepping on down to Soi 7 to squeeze in a last few tender moments with a favorite courtesan, a'hem, seemed inadvisable yet irresistible, go figure. You can sleep when your dead, as they say.
Having come to Bangkok for the first time last year, whilst on an unexpected posting in Japan, and having enjoyed a number of short stints during the year, it's all still new, While experiencing significant trepidation in Thailand, I found a groove of comfortable habits in this very different place.
After having spent most of my adult life alone, blah blah, and having enjoyed a few western relationships, typically gravitating towards unorthodox western females (freaks), coming to Thailand seemed a provocative and novel idea. Those elements (provocative and novel) hopefully providing some counterweight to untold lifetimes spent, toiling in the corporate factory milieu, and living in the cultural desert called America. A proud accomplishment that, coming to SE Asia for a 'scare de cat' small town factory puke.
Having traveled some, mostly for work, it was time to reward myself for slaving away all those years. Could it be true? Could such a place actually exist? Having read and heard reports from any number of acquaintance through the years, imagination no longer sufficed. I feared it, and feared I would like it, and what its effects might be.
Anyway, after some frolic back to the room, shower up and ready to fly. Just a few items left to toss in the bag, then out the door to the airport.
Feeling a satisfied if not silly and gleeful exhaustion from numerous dalliance, a quick catnap in the sanctuary of a Suhkumvit hotel room, beckoned. So easily seduced, aren't we now?
Flopping down on the mattress my thoughts went thusly, "This mattress is oh so zzzzzzzzzzzzzz."
Some time later, conscious awareness arrived. Slowly, comfortably, having enjoyed a wonderful drooling departure from the concerns of reality.
No alarm nor anything startling. the room still having all the lights on, hmmmmm.
Checking the time, which amounted to staring blankly at some device attached to my wrist, it took a moment to recall what a watch was.
What exact significance it and its little arms and markings had if any, remained a mystery. Cognitive thought was elusive. Bangkok.
'Ill just stare at it, surely something will come to mind'.
Just then, a disturbing glimmer of awareness took hold. The synapses slowly accelerated to critical mass (critical mass in that instance equaling cognitive recognition of the concept of time) Apply furrowed brow, here.
'It does indeed seem later than it ought'.
Nah, cant be, try again, lets see now what time was I supposed to leave the hotel'?
Now for the heavy lifting, connecting this thought, with evidence submitted by the aforementioned timekeeping device, to a logical summation which could include a concession to a potentially unpleasant reality which was to be most assiduously avoided. I felt good, better than in years, and it was my 'right' to continue to feel good. This was vacation in Thailand, Dammit!
'Some how, some way, this just can't be right'
Denial put up an admirable fight yet was no match for the onerous reality hurtling forward into realization.
'Crap, I've over slept by an hour and it may be impossible to make my flight.'
A wave of anxiety flooded me veins. Kind of.
Should've been panicked, angry, chagrinned and was all that, kind of .
Having drunk from the fount of lascivious ness afforded by a certain segment of Thai society and become a more relaxed human, it was now plain to see how one could forgive oneself almost any foible, lunacy, bad judgement, or action, in the LOS. Palliative care and redemption is available to all with a few dollars. (If only Obama's 'Affordable Care Act' covered this treatment. Perhaps the fine print warrants a read).
A sense of having crossed over into "The Twilight Zone" caused a momentary pause, something along the lines of 'this is not good, and I am not nearly uncomfortable enough with it.' The recently minted desire to abandon 'reality' stay in the LOS and let the chips fall where they may, was powerful. The seeds had been sown.
Another western soul so willingly chooses the expressway to perdition, Certainly if Beelzebub exists, Bangkok would be the place to get introduced.
Oh the delightful delirium of the place. A Raison d'être perhaps?
Back to the task at hand.
Flight leaves in one hour. It's a half hour to the airport. The urgency of the situation demands attention. My corporate servitude resumes apace tomorrow at 8 AM sharp, and that Thai Airways red eye is the only option. Yet, again, after two weeks spent philandering at will, besotted by the carnal devices of working girls, there was a growing conviction that the exigencies of "real" life were bullshit. Productivity, timeliness, accountability, those KILLERS of the modern man.
Ambivalence had set in or perhaps, a bit of ones more authentic self had been allowed a breath.
Simplified: Who in the H*** wants to go back to the salt mine after this place?!
Must move body. Must pack bag. Contingency on the hoof. Check out NO brush teeth NO piss NO. Hit the deck running as they say, however, just wasn't happenin.
'Maybe this situation is a sign, an omen, sent by the Gods of the LOS that I, the anointed one, am to stay. A psychic warning sent by the universe to prevent me from some yet unknown cataclysmic ill fate'.
(A career in the aviation industry has left me wholly unimpressed with Thai Airways pilots ability to bring a 777 back to the earth.)
Probably not though. (Why do we think that getting laid a lot must have some bearing on our 'cosmic' or otherwise destiny?)
'Come on Farnsworth! commit to trying at least'. Self-chastising.
Do Thais self chastise? Or is this just a Baptist thing?
The body resisted having to give up ANY energy for this effort. Going through the motions of panic, a rather hilarious endeavor.
Crap in bag, ass out door, and just keep moving. Hail taxi and Hail Mary, we were off to airport. As I implored Mr. Taxi Man with the desperation of my plight, but then how desperate could one be really?
It wasn't an escape from a war torn city on the brink of invasion or a nuclear catastrophe.
But that biz class upgrade were not cheap and I am not rich, and it really should've and did strike me as personally irresponsible and stupid. Yet, if I did miss the flight, well, there would be an opportunity for palliative measures. Insert smile here.
"I go quick way" said he, (now why would such a phrase as this, meant to reassure have just the opposite effect? Hmmm Thailand) as he took surface roads.
'Well, it is late, perhaps it is best, or perhaps it's a taxi scam! Lord have mercy NOT NOW dear Thailand taxi driver!' We arrived at Suvarnabhumi with 20 odd minutes until scheduled departure. A 1000 baht note was all I had. Screw it. In Japan where I was bound it costs 150 baht to just get in a taxi. The ride there would easily exceed 1000 baht and been a lot less thrilling.
A 1000 baht note goes to the friendly if not gracious, smiling, semi toothless Thai taxi driver. He, good to his word, drove like the wind!
Catapulting out of his ride and running through the lanes, cursing an earlier decision to bring my laptop along, I arrive at the check in counter, which is ominously vacant of travelers. A wave of conspicuousness envelopes me.
'Where have all my fellow travelers gone? Please tell me it's not tool late!' The frumpy looking older check in gal says "the flight is closed sir*. She calls the flight manager to see if it's okay for Farang to chase the plane down the runway, then issues a boarding pass. Spirit through security and immigration. Perks of spending on biz class ticket.
"Last call for YOUR flight, silly Farang."
The loudspeaker blared, as our hero jogged down the concourse, a new sense of urgency taking hold, not wanting to be THAT GUY who missed his international business class flight because he were busy drooling on his pillow, exhausted, from a few too many 'rumpy pumpy' sessions in Sin City.
And miss work, and get to explain it, to the mega corporation boss (whole cloth fabrication would be best).
So there I was, running through the airport. The locals have no doubt seen this before. Insert maniacal laughing here. Arriving at 'D' section of Suvarnabhumi, I started to feel better, but wait! The gates were nowhere to be seen! And everyone around seemed so, relaxed!
The sign has an arrow pointing down and to the right, in the 5 o'clock position, but there's nothing there!
Sweet Jesus on a stick, have mercy, how can this be?!' Running a little further down the concourse, then butting in to someone's conversation with the information attendants, they pointed me back to where I just had been. Run back. At this point I was crazy man muttering out loud, "Where the hell is it?" Totally boggled, and then it appeared.
At the sign with the arrow pointing in the Five o clock position mentioned previously, one needed to turn around 180 degrees and descend on the now apparent escalator, that would be behind one as one faces the sign, The sign that gave no indication to turn around and look behind oneself. The escalator was difficult to spot even whilst looking right at it. WTF!
More running, made the gate, only to plop down on a shuttle bus next to some unresponsive unfriendly fellow airplane traveler. A sobering slap of reality.
Huffing and puffing as a few of us waited 5 min to trundle out to the bird back to the Land Of the Rising Sun.
Sigh, giggle. thinking about next time.