Sometimes it just happens I guess. Not planned, just happens. I haven’t chatted a girl up in my life. Never wanted to. Can’t be bothered. I don’t know how it happens but I know doing this in a bar or nightclub gets in between my beer and my friends. I don’t like that. Anyone who puts themselves before their friends is just an idiot.
Sex is not that important. Just overrated in today’s now now shallow modern society. Those who seek it as a pseudo-Holy Grail to life haven’t been laid enough or read a good book before. But falling in love, how ever it happens, well that’s cool.
The other week, waiting for Tom to get up, I headed out in Chang Mai for a quick haircut and passed the open door of a bookshop. The worker or owner was sitting, leaning against the wall, engrossed in her book as the cat lay strewn in the freshness of the morning rays. Without doubt, one of the few successes of backpackers is to have moved great books around the world. After my no-questions hairdresser had finished, I emerged with a military style crop and sidled up to the shop. The girl was gone but I picked up on a few things about myself;
1. I love books. I feel genuinely excited looking through them. Books are people’s work, maybe three years or even up to twenty years work if you count Joyce. I hate to see books bent and torn for this is a writer’s work. I’m not talking about your Jeffrey Archers here. I mean our real writers who write real books, creating and rewriting, never sure if it’s finished. My favourite quote about Archer was from Private Eye when he was sent to prison. When his wife asks him if he will write to her from prison, he replies “Of course not. I’ll get someone else to do that.”
2. This was a great bookshop. From Camus to Orwell, Morrison to Greene, the true greats were covered. To be surrounded by great books all day would be privilege money can’t buy. I picked up The Plague by Camus.
3. The girl who worked in that bookshop returned and proved to be the most beautiful girl I’ve seen in Thailand. She smiled and made me smile in shyness. God knows when that happened to me. On the last day, I returned to the shop to tell the girl what I thought about her. I stormed in, having pepped myself, walked up to the desk where she perched, breathed in to speak and then spied a fat guy sitting on a stool, hidden away, flicking through the Archer-esque books. I bottled it, checked out some books and saying goodbye.
So I tried and lost. But her smile will live with my travels for a long time I think. As for the fat guy, well it begins with c.