Friday, April 10, 2009

Shopping at Tesco Lotus

The sounds of construction rattled in my head. The constant banging, clanging, and crashing of yet another condo project made my brain ache. Bangkok was growing, but its always being growing. Unfettered by rules and regulations the city's expansion seemed limitless. I rolled out of my bed, happy that I didn't have to work, unhappy about my state of sickness. Last nights libations were coming over me, rolling over, crashing into me like a wave.

It was high tide when I went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet. I shat for fifteen minutes, the third time since I'd woken up. My ass was red and raw from the alcohol induced diarrhea. I'd long ago learned about the effects of the drink on my bowels. The alcohol reduces my cells abilities to retain water. This leads to an outpouring of fluid in the intestinal lining which is poorly absorbed. My diarrhea usually lasts a couple hours until the alcohol is emitted from my body.

I stared at the wall of my bathroom while the watery shit slipped out of my anus. The nights events were a blur, another cliche. I had started drinking in my apartment after work. I'd been teaching at Wall Street for three months now.

It was an okay gig, teaching English to locals, and paid okay but the hours were erratic. Some days I'd go in at 9 am while others I didn't have to be in until 3. Yesterday I didn't have to go in until 2pm. I had eight lessons of forty minutes each, a decent workload. I got paid per lesson so I tried to average at least six lessons a day. It was more annoying than working at a school because of the erratic schedule and the varying monthly salary.

Once I got home I'd cracked open a beer and watched the sun slowly sink on the horizon. My apartment building had a nice view of the skyline from the roof. I stood on the edge of the roof while the gray, smog ridden sky changed color. The border between the buildings of Bangkok and the heavens shifted slowly. It turned from a dull orange into a grayish purple and then slipped into the darkness of night. The stars were covered by the ozone of smog that hung above the city preventing inhabitants from seeing the heavens. The skyscrapers lit up the streets with their lights as if they were fallen comets, jaggedly sticking up from the earth and still glowing with celestial energy.

I tried not to think too much as the night descended on the city which I now knew as my home. I tried to remember to breathe at regular intervals. I counted my breath and wondered if I could get it somehow to correspond with the speed of the setting sun. When it had become dark my breathing had slowed. I was a little drunk. I went back to my apartment and stared at my computer. It glowed like the building lights but with more of a neon light. It drew me like a fly to its glow, but like a fly I just hung about it, doing little. I checked my email, then checked it again, then I looked at Facebook, I flipped through people's photos, and checked my email again. I opened another beer and shut off my lab top.

I needed to break out of my routines, I needed something different. The desire to break out was the reason I'd come to Thailand in the first place, but three months later I still felt the same unnerving sense of isolation. I opened a copy of the Bangkok Post that was sitting on the table by my bed. The story on the back of the international section was about a woman on trial for murder. The woman had laughed during her arrest period and at the media circus had made jokes about her rabbit vibrator. Others commented on her lack of care with disgust. It reminded me of "The Stranger," by Camus. The main character wasn't on trial for his actions but was on trial for his attitude. I wondered if she would be hung for her blase attitude.

I put the paper down and went to the small refridgerator that came with the apartment. I got out a bottle of 1000 pipers and poured myself three shots. I downed them all within five minutes. Time started to blur, to pick up pace, and I began to feel more alive. When people say they feel alive what they really mean is that they are feeling a series of strong emotions and that's how I felt.

I went outside and took a cab to patpong. The red light district was worn from the years and the girls were worn from their work. A few of them had stretch marks on their small bellies from children. I drank a beer at a bar then moved onto the next bar. The bars began to blur. At some point I took a cab home. I dozed lightly in the cab. I got home and passed out in my clothes.

I decided to rid my hangover with a beer. I opened a Tiger beer and drank half of it in one long gulp. I looked around my apartment and decided to go to the supermarket. I finished my beer and grabbed my keys. I looked at myself in the mirror before I left. I was slightly dishelved but didn't care.

The On Nut Tesco lotus wasn't far from my house. A fifteen minute walk. I walked into the bottom of the shopping center and then took the escalator to the second floor. I wandered the supermarket for a half hour. I didn't know what to buy. Eventually I bought some more beer. I took the beer home and drank it until I passed out from drunkeness