Readers' Submissions

How to Fix Nana Plaza





I was sitting outside Play Skool in Nana Plaza when Anus Moony took the stool next to me. I don’t know why I attract people like Anus Moony. I remember when I was seventeen and I was coming home to Iowa from a week in the county jail in Aurora, Nebraska. I had to wait overnight in the bus depot in Des Moines and a chubby girl in a snood sat next to me. She wanted to talk about Jesus. When I said I wasn’t a Christian she burst into tears, and spent the next six hours trying to convert me.

When Anus sits next to me he makes Nana Plaza feel just like the Des Moines Greyhound terminal.

“I know people say that Nana is the happening spot as far as gogos go. I would love to come here more often but it’s still a pain in the arse here,” said Anus.

“Did you just say, ‘gogos go?” I replied.

“They got rid of the ladyboys blocking the entrance, but they’re still all over the inside. It’s nearly impossible to go to any all-girl bar without running the gauntlet of ladyboys. I try to look down but am afraid of one grabbing me.”

“You’re afraid of a man in a dress? What do you think he’s going to do to you? Call you a ‘saxy man’ and bat his eyelashes? Lie about how handsome you are? Or does the sight of a ladyboy maybe ignite a little spark way down in your sacral chakra, and it’s really that little blip of lust that frightens you?”

Anus ignored me. He speaks not to be heard, but because silence frightens him. “I also hate how the sidewalks are taken over by the vendors,” he said, “so that you get pushed and elbowed trying to walk to Nana. Sometimes I go out on the street to walk, but am always reminded of the guy that got clobbered by a truck mirror and never survived.”

“Yeah, I hear ya. I never leave the house at all, because there was that one guy who got struck by lightening that one time. Best to just stay indoors, close the blinds, unplug the phone, and cower in the dark.”

“A friend fell – I can’t remember if he stumbled or was pushed – and stuck his arm out to break the fall, only to have his hand land on one of those grills. I am always worried that could happen to me.”

“I know, right? Those women stand over those charcoal grills for sixteen hours a day, seven days a week, for decades, and they don’t fall or get pushed onto the coals. But I haven’t eaten any food except oatmeal in years because there was that one guy who choked on a chicken bone. The way planes fall out of the sky I’m amazed either of us ever travels at all. The world is a scary place, isn’t it, Anus?”

“If they made Soi Nana a walking street like Soi Cowboy it would be much better, but that’s not going to happen. Soi Cowboy keeps getting narrower and narrower, and now the tourists and sightseers clog it up and block your way.”

“Anus, you’re a tourist and a sightseer. You live in a glass house, so put down that stone.”

“Nana Plaza needs to make it very clear to the ladyboys that they cannot grab people walking by or block their way.”

“Anus, you realize that those ladyboys are Thai citizens, and they have more right to be there than you do? You can leave any time you want, flights go out of the airport every hour. They probably throw a parade very time you leave this country. They give kids the day off from school, it’s called Anus Gone Day. You could go bother people in Paris or London or Hong Kong. You could go watch the Olympics in Rio. But everybody working in Nana Plaza is stuck where they are. They don’t have a choice. That’s their life, it’s their home, and you’re a guest, so behave like one. And wait a minute, when you say, ‘Nana Plaza needs to make it clear…’ do you think there’s some guy named ‘Nana Plaza’ who controls this place? Or are you talking about the police? Or the drug dealers? The bar owners? The Lion’s Club? The Kiwanis? The little girls who sell flower garlands? Who exactly do you think tells people what to do here?”

Still ignoring me, Anus said, “Better yet, they should group the ladyboy bars together so you can avoid them altogether. And the authorities need to clear out all the vendors between Sukhumvit and the entrance to Nana Plaza.”

“Oh. I get it. You want to bring back Jim Crow laws. Or apartheid. You want to put ladyboys and their friends into little ghettos, all the better to find them when the final cleansing happens and you ship them all off to camps. Why, Anus? What are you so afraid of? You can’t even look at a ladyboy? And hey, what gives you this sense of entitlement? How come you think that you get to make the decisions on where Thai people earn their livings in Thailand? Because you drag your limp dick and a few dollars over here now and then?”

I stood up and stuck a few baht into the bamboo cup for the waitress. “Here’s what I think, Anus. There should be a special street in Bangkok where deluded old farts like yourself may congregate. A street with no vendors, no traffic, no ladyboys, none of this stuff they call music these days, and no darn neighborhood kids throwing their baseballs into your back yard. Just a beer tap and some of those round donuts to sit on so your hemorrhoids don’t flare up. Maybe a TV that plays endless re-runs from the good old days. A place where you can sit around and bitch about what you don’t like, and cower in fear from all the lethal dried squid carts, and avoid looking at somebody whose honesty about her gender makes you question your own. A place where you can’t bother other people with your petty insecurities and inflated self importance. How about that? We’ll call it Soi Anus, and when all the assholes get off the planes we’ll pack them into cattle cars and take them straight there. And we’ll sew a pink asterisk onto their shirts, so everybody will know they’re assholes and can avoid them.”