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balance (2): leavers

Sunday, November 2, 2008


last week i went on a visa run to laos, again. vientiane was full of nigerians, and nigerians love shy white girls, apparently. they also have no qualms about jumping ahead in line so i spent a very frustrating day standing in glaring hot sun while the line ahead of me (for the visa) got progressively longer. i actually passed out in line after a couple of hours, and one of the nigerians picked me up and set me in the shade. i then had to avoid his winks and smiles for the rest of the time i spent panting there. but i had acquired myself a sweet old laotian man as a designated driver in a colorful and creaky tuk tuk, who protected me chivalrously from the creepy guys even as he scandalously overcharged me, and i did get away with 6 months' worth of visa time in thailand, should i need it. i also had a nice sunset stroll along the mekong river, played with some puppies which always does wonders for my mental health, and downed some great beer laos at 'khop chai due', my favorite fluffy-gardened cafe, with a fascinating australian guy who had been all over the world and told raucous stories, until i realized my eyes were crossing and i had to excuse myself and run down the dark streets to my cool, safe hotel room to sleep heavily.

mustachioed cat in vientiane

back in thailand, oh woe is me, again. if there is one thing i have still not gotten used to after years in this land of revolving door tourists, it is the fact that i get close to people who inevitably leave. i suspect it is karma for the many times i have left people before in my long life of place-hopping (though i don't think i often left behind people who cared much at all that i was leaving).

and so ends my little group of special misfits as we scatter in our respective directions. 'y'- the feisty bengali princess, surprise good friend, and instigator of much fun is off to seek her fortune in oz. 's', the sketchy russian gangster with the heart of a teddy bear is off to do whatever secretive sneaky stuff it is he does. 't'- the narcissistic, affectionate, confounding drama queen extraordinaire who has been my unwitting and elusive love interest of the past couple months, is off to try and be a good boy to his trophy girlfriend for once. and 't', the strange schoolgirl, is so strange that i can't see myself spending much time with her on my own as we two are left behind. i will miss all of our crazy nights barhopping, making sordid taxicab confessions, flirting and being infatuated with one another, and shaking our drunken booties to hip hop (which believe it or not is growing on me) at club slim at RCA... not to mention the many late nights of IM conversations and bonding phone calls.

me and 'y' on halloween

back to trying to fill my days so i don't drown in thick sticky loneliness. at least maybe i will detox a little bit without the weekly binge parties. i joined the gym, which is nice- i like to stare out the window at the people going about their business in the hotel across the street while i do mindless repetitions on the circuit trainers or fall clumsily all over myself to the delight of my snappy pilates teacher. i like to breathe deep in the herbal steamroom and imagine i am in an exotic rainforest. i stumble squeaky clean into central department store (where my gym is located) and try to make it past the obstacle course of shops without making purchases (usually i fail at this and spend the rest of the day suffering from buyer's remorse of some sort). i buy coffee and eat noodles and walk past the shrine where people are praying with incense and the stalls selling flowers, fish balls, flip flops, to hop on the baht bus through fuming traffic towards home.

at home i flounder. i think about cleaning, but flop onto my bed. i think about writing but know i should work instead. i flip lazily through art sites and miss culture and inspiration. i try to watch movies but cable sucks. i stare out the window and think about moving to NY, which really will be just another window looking out onto a place i am not apart of. but a hell of a lot more expensive.

i can do anything really, says 'y'- with no strings upon me i am free. i can go anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. she is trying to get me to move with her to melbourne, but i find ozzies bland and awkward, and still there is something about thailand that nags at me, whispering "you are not done here yet elocin don't think you can escape just yet" (you still have some self esteem in you that we need to leech away, for instance). and there is NY demanding with an inscrutable mask from across the world that i be upstanding and strong and seek my fortune amongst the best of the best, throwing all caution to the wind.

...all i really want to do is close my heavy curtains, turn up the air conditioner, and dream heavy dreams under the sheets forever and ever.


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