Black cloud over the Big Mango? Even Ghost Busters couldn't cure Bangkok's evil.
If you are reading this from your comfortable chair in your comfortable home, dreaming of the first class vacation to Ibiza or Monte Carlo, with the big hotel, the snobby staff, the tanned puffy-lipped anorexics, the Bill Blass Aldo and the coiffed poodle, I hope that reading this will scare the shit out of you. At least enough to keep you out of my city. This is no place for you and selfishly I don't want to hear your whining. The fact that even this dirty, perverse cowboy-town known as Bangkok is even starting to feel like Newark, New Jersey only makes me hate your whining even more.
It's turning out to be one of those personal milestone weeks that, at my age, snuck up on me. In the span of one more month I will have finally gotten married (after mounting one of the most formidable and successful marriage prevention programs in the history of man). I will also finally be moving away from the city that has lovingly been my home and rest stop for the last eight years: Bangkok, Thailand. It took Hangover 2 to finally give Bangkok its Hollywood due, but those of us who have been walking and exploring the the dirty streets here for a while know what we will not say. Bangkok: the perfect destination for the short attention spanned. The city where a smile and a sneer are virtually indistinguishable. The city where a cloud of pepper spray smells good and a rotten son-of-a-bitch Indian tailor waits patiently at every street corner smiling falsely in hopes of selling a stupid knock off Armani suit and tie with the opening line "Hello, my friend." This is the Bangkok I know. This is my Newark. Bangkok, you are a whore without a conscience; a good dream with a harsh ending; a dead rat at the bottom of a bowl of Tom Yum soup. I'm leaving in a month and after I'm gone, I know we'll speak of each other fondly. At least I will.
I'm a little on edge this week. I had an epiphany and I hate fucking epiphanies. They remind you that you still might be horribly ignorant without even realizing it. My upcoming official wedding must be the culprit. I've dreaded these realizations for years and have occasionally used beer and tequila to make them go away. They will not go away. But this is the truth that you have to know: Guys (real men anyway) don't want to feel normal. We want to feel heroic, adventurous and capable. The truth is that most men are none of these things. The other truth is that I am one of those men and have proved it on the savage streets and roads and jungles of 4 different continents. Give or take a continent. Here's another fact: once you have a wife and child you are no longer considered brave for being that real man. You are called an inconsiderate, reckless asshole by the people who know you best and possibly by your wife (but mine is nice enough to not say it out loud). Once coupled and kidded-up a strange and uncomfortable guilt arises making you turn toward the world of normalcy for "the good of the family." You read books on it, ask questions of your normal friends, constantly ask yourself if you are really a good father. Its like having your thumb up your ass for two years before you notice you have your thumb up your ass. You wait for it to get more normal and make more sense, but it never does. It never feels normal because it does not exist in the nature of the adventurer. You become an animal, with incontinence, in an ever shrinking, unpapered cage. Furthermore, I submit that it is only when you give this shit up and try to ride the edge, family in tow, that things really start to happen again. So we are bound for the jungles of Indonesia, me employed, they in tow. To do what we do best. Live off the grid...........but not too far off. Well, probably too far off for you.