The family came and went, leaving Lane in their wake. Tomorrow he leaves for a monastery in Ubon Ratchatani before traveling to Laos and Vietnam. It was a good 10 day run we had together – dancing, redecorating my room in a postmodern vein, and watching the television series “Heroes” – and he was by my side when I won the grand prize a week ago at Payap’s international night (the Christian university in Chiang Mai): a roundtrip airline ticket from Bangkok to Singapore on Cathay Pacific. He wasn’t by my side the other day though when somebody stole my crappy ass helmet sitting in the basket of my motorbike in front of the English department at school. It’s silly because there’s a bike lot not 5 meters away brimming with much fancier (not to mention safer) helmets begging to be stolen, but for some unknown reason, they decided to steal mine – the soup helmet with that tacky lightning bolt running down the backside.
Lane was at my side the night we walked past 7-11 a few days ago and witnessed for the first time Thais being violent. While heading back from the dance club, we were shocked to find a group of Thai guys brawling in the street with beer bottles and bats, clubbing one another while others stood aloof nursing various wounds. They even smashed the front windows of the 7-11. I heard later on that it took the police several hours before arriving on the scene. You won’t find the police anywhere in Chiang Mai except needlessly directing traffic during rush hour at intersections which already have lights.
Rewind back to Halloween, I myself had a minor brush with violence, but not with a Thai. Instead it was some random British guy in Chiang Mai to train Muay Thai. I was dressed up as a Thai university student for the occasion, standing at the restaurant adjacent from the gym and across from my friends’ apartment. I’m chatting with two friends when he approaches and I assume they all know each other.
"You look like Harry Potter” he says. “You hear that often?"
So I respond, "Only right before bar brawls break out" obviously joking.
“What do you know about bar brawls?” he asks. “Don’t talk to a crazy British guy with a glass in his hands about bar brawls.” He delivers this line while holding up the glass in his hand for added emphasis. The tone of the conversation seems completely harmless. I mean, I’m dressed up as a Thai schoolboy and the Muay Thai guys at our gym tend to have a sense of camaraderie. “You don’t wanna mess with this guy” one of my friends says, carrying on the seemingly amiable tone. “He’s got over 5 years of Muay Thai experience.”
“Oh yeah, well I’ve got 5 weeks experience” I rebuttal jokingly. “Take that.”
The next thing I know, the British guy open hand slaps me real hard across the face and breaks my glasses, then shoves me and starts smacking himself and calling me out to fight him right there. He was absolutely 100% fucking looney toons. So I did what any logical modern cowboy would do, I un-holstered my pistol and shot him three times in the chest. Or, I stood there completely in shock, looked at my friends and asked if he was for real, then was on my way before even waiting for the answer. The next day I went in to audition for Oliver Stone’s new movie being shot in Chiang Mai, Pinkville, about the My Lai massacre. Fingers crossed, for me, and also for Lane on his travels East.