On Intellectual Materialisticness and Toilets

Friday, 9 September 2011


It was Autumn when I left London yesterday. Yellow leaves spiralled towards the ground, spiky green seed pods lay open, loosely clutching shiny brown conkers.
The academic year had started again - children from a prep school passed in uniforms; cardigans, shirts, stripy ties, fresh schoolbags. Evening fires were being lit and apples were rotting on the ground.

First port of call was New Delhi airport, but  I can't say that I learnt anything about New Delhi, or India. Long haul flights, plane transfers in different countres - all commerical airports are the same - quiet, hushed commercialism. Gentle bureaucratic nagging and prompting. Calm security announcements. Life in static.

Saying that, I did learn that when you go into an Indian airport bathroom, an attendant is always on hand to usher you in. They show you to a cubicle, and stand outside waitng for you whilst you go about your business. Once finished, it's wise not to open the door too fast as their faces are usually lurking right in the trajectory, smiling knowingly. "Soap?".
If I played the Indian stock markets, I'd invest in privacy. A rare and valuable commodity.

I arrived in Bangkok via the airport shuttle, then hailed a taxi to the guest house, which was 10 minutes away. The driver quoted me an inflated price. I had forgotten about my blue-eyed farang fucking face. It still worked out at around £3.50. I couldn't be arsed to haggle.

I answered his questions succinctly. I didn't return them. We found the quiet, neighbourhood guest house. I payed him. It was raining. I said thankyou in Thai as I left the taxi, but was too busy wondering why the fuck I was back in Bangkok to notice that I had left my travel briefcase in the car.

No-one was around. I knocked on the door of the room from which I could hear Thai TV, then realised what I had done.

I ran back to the front gate, leaving the receptionist to answer to an empty door. The taxi was gone. My computer, my back-up drive, my writing, my notes, my work - gone. I ran back to the main road. No taxi. No passport, no wallet, no debit card, no education certificates, no underpants. Gone.
I had a vague memory of losing my phone in a San Francisco taxi, and of the driver trying to make me pay $100 for the return of a $30 handset.

I spoke to the owner of the guest house over the phone. He said I could stay for one night, and that we would 'talk about it in the morning.'

I wished I'd written and realised my ideas instead of letting them sit stagnant and half-baked on my hard drive. I wished I hadn't been so uncommunicative with the taxi driver. I wished my head could be more in-the-moment instead of up-my-arse.

Bizarrely, my first course of action was to grab a pen & paper and start trying to note down everything I had ever written on my laptop.
Once that had become tiring, I mulled over my options. In the end, it was a toss-up between:

1.becoming a monk
2.becoming a male gigolo
and
3.suicide.

As I was wondering whether option no. 2 served as a direct route to option no.3 anyway, I heard a car pull up at the front gates. I ran out, my bare feet splashing through warm, funky puddles of rainwater, to see a taxi. It was him - he was holding the bag.

"You leave bag. I see and say 'ehhhhhh?'. Check bag. All is there."

I didn't check it, but dipped into my pocket and gave him a 100 baht bill. I also went to give him a man-hug, but he recoiled with a mixture of amusement and horror. I shook his hand instead.

"Thankyou."

2 comments:

Zac said...

Thats awesome!
Also, Apple is giving away free Ipads for people to test. My friend Gina got one and she LOVES it! She got lots of free apps and was able to download a boyfriend to have, get this, SEX with! Just reply to this link for your free IPAD. www.poopoo.com

Looking forward to more Thai stories that I will read on my FREE Ipad! Yeah!

Inkedmonzter said...

You're really really lucky.Very few people get their stuff back once they left it like that.