Gee, What A Nithe Guy!
A Thai woman in a long fashion coat is standing one the footpath, beside one of the overhead walkway steps on Sukhomvit. She looks down the street as I walk towards her, then she looks back at the figure of a man standing against the pressed steel fence by one of the construction sites. She gives an exasperated sigh. In the flash I catch of her face, she looks angry. I then see the man more clearly as I approach: a farang - a Westerner - medium build, graying short hair. His left hand is across his body and supports the elbow of his right arm. His right hand is on his downturned face and he is sobbing.
I look back occasionally as I climb the steps to cross over Sukhomvit. By the time I reach the top, I see them walking away, with her following him maybe three steps behind.
One of those things, I guess.
I pass four maybe five beggars all of the same species: old or young women with young children or babies drugged listless on their laps. A racket, well known one. The babies are not theirs as a rule. A guy in a black Mercedes drops them off most afternoons, after allocating various babies to their pseudo-mothers.
However, one lady is breast feeding the baby when she looks up at me, and she smiles. I presume that's her baby.
I pass by them all, give them nothing.
Gee, am I a prick or what?
A small child about six, but maybe older than she looks, catches my eye in the small store as she picks up this, puts it back, picks up that, puts it back. I am getting an almond Magnum for desert and some wheat-flavored green tea to wash down my medicine. She reaches the counter before I do and I see her ask to check the price of a sachet of M&Ms and some Zero chewing-gum. She fingers the zipper on her purse for a second and she looks away as the clerk gives her the total, calculating in her head, not having to open the purse to realize she doesn't have the 24Bht she needs. She walks back and replaces the M&Ms in their box in the short aisle.
I indicate to the clerk that I will pay for the M&Ms for the girl.
He smiles, calls her over and tells her to bring the M&MS back, explains that the stupid fat farang will buy them for her. She smiles suddenly too, and gives me a wai, the prayer-like Thai greeting of respect. I see that her right arm has several Thai-script tattoos on it. Weird - I have this feeling there is something medically wrong with her - it is my clinical eye, I can't suppress it. Is she short for some congenital reason, is she slightly chubby because she is on prednisilone? Am I imagining this? Should she be eating chocolate? How old is this girl really?
The clerk speaks to her, telling her to thank me properly. She wais to me again and says softly, "Khap khun khaaa…"
I reply with, "Mai pen rai…" Enjoy your chocolate, you poor kid.
Gee, I am a nithe guy or what?
OTHER MONKEYS SAID
You are a big softy :-)
You are part of the landscape up there now fella. How would you ever fit into Melbourne again and not get bored?
Indy: soft in all the wrong places.
Sino: Melbourne? Too freaking cold... Definetely somewhere north of Sydney at least. Like, say, Phuket or Koh Samui.
i need to be on the move again...i'm jealous!