Day 25: Lectures on condoms and other fun endvours
The die chose strawberry flavored condoms, though I'm not really sure what it has in mind. Photo: Isaac Stone Simonelli
I WAKE up in my bed – hidden beneath a pile of plastic zip lock bags, clothes and all sorts of other bits of gear – to a lecture on the use of condoms in a Facebook message, not from Laura, but from Lindy.
At some point last night, Lindy read the posts about Laura and me.
“Read your new post... haha. Do you know how many lectures you are going to get from people (myself included)! CONDOMS!!!!!
“I hope you have bought some! And it's not just having a baby you need to worry about you know! All kinds of shit out there – you don't want to end up with – so be careful!
“I'd actually be more worried about that then babies! Thailand has one of the highest numbers of people with HIV in Asia! Just be careful! Boys never think about this kind of stuff!! Always thinking with the penis! Ok, ok, I'm done.”
Didn't I made it clear in the post that I agreed with the need for condoms in general, I wonder as I shake of the last clinging efforts of a 13 hour nap that's attempting to drag me back to sleep.
Lindy and I agree to meet for a late breakfast, which I'm exciting about. Lindy's an interesting woman and it's hard not to just enjoy our little romance for what it is.
Down the covered side street that the beast has been sleeping in this last week or so, I go through the top box, selecting a handful of magic tricks that Lindy will like. She's a wonderful audience and has been pressing me to show her more.
She suggested meeting at a place called Kuppadeli. Then, a bit more in the spirit of Dice Travels, threw out the idea of letting the dice choose: first a general area and then one of the restaurants listed an online article breaking down the 40 best cafes and restaurants to get breakfast at in Bangkok
The die chooses Asoke, passing on Thonglor, Phloen Chit and Sukhumivt. Without paying attention I scrolled down to the Asoke section of the website, which only has Chu and Kuppa, though a third place was mentioned at the bottom of the write up on Kuppa: Kuppadeli. Without thinking about it, I throw the die: three, Kuppadeli. Only then does it hit me that was Lindy's original suggestion.
On the way to the chic little cafe on the base floor of Asoke Tower, I pop into a 7-Eleven and let the dice choose a packet of condoms for me – strawberry flavored.
Lindy was already teasing about maybe letting me roll to put them in action. Though the reality of the situation is that Lindy isn't about to let go of control and let the dice decided. Additionally, she doesn't do one night stands – just extended periods of cuddling.
However, counter to her stander practice of being in control, yesterday she had me throw the die on whether or not I could kiss her. I was a bit nervous, despite the odds being in the favor of my lips – only a six would mean no kissing.
I grab a table by a power outlet so I can get to work, while I wait. Breakfast was framed up as a working date, us both getting some writing down while just enjoying the silent presence of the other.
Bangkok has not been good for my writing, too much happening far too late into the night. Too much Tinder, too much Facebook, too much socializing, too little sleep. I comfort myself, pointing out that things will be different once I'm back on the road.
Lindy's running late, which is fine. I have my coffee and I'm happy to finally get settled into writing.
Eventually, she shows up, her face glowing.
As any well-rounded American boy, I love the idea of getting out some hickory blocks and throwing them in with some charcoal and watching the first flames rise high before closing the lid of the grill. Once the uncleaned bars of the grill are sizzling hot from the glowing coals below, there isn't anything better than the sound of well-marinated meat hitting the the metal. However, I don't particular like being the piece of well-marinated meat.
Lindy skimmed most of the blog and had all kinds of questions, which for the sake of conversation and general openness I was willing to field. I had already tried to launch into showing her some magic tricks, but she was dialed into the conversation before she even sat down.
Cheating on Jackie is what she finds particularly interesting. Eventually, she concludes what feels like a 15 minute lecture on cheating. (She did a great deal of research on the topic when she started to date someone that had a reputation for cheating.) In general, it looks like the idiom “once a cheater, always a cheater” usually holds true.
None of this really goes down in my book as the best way to start the day. And despite being a Leo, at this point I'm pretty tired of talking about me, which is kind of hard to imagine about a guy who writes several pages about his life every single day.
“Well, that was a serious lecture,” I say.
“Oh, no. Sorry, it wasn't supposed to be a lecture. I just wanted to explain why I'm so interested in it,” Lindy says. I realize this, but because she does have very strong opinions and a very aggressive way of pursuing things, it's kind of hard for it not to feel like a lecture – I don't think I got a word in edgewise for the majority of those 15 minutes.
With only a mild interest, I go through the steps of breaking down why I've had a habit of cheating on people, what I did to try and break it after Jackie and I broke up and so on. It was fascinating for her, as she likes to analyze people – really get how they work.
I'm mildly board. I should have been flattered that she's interested enough to dig into it and really wants to understand what makes me tick. However, she's not the first person to want to pick me apart and understand how it all works. As a fairly introspective person, I don't feel the need to hash it all out with another person to gain additional insights. In general, it just rubs me we the wrong way. Not in a terrible way, but like petting a dog against the grain.
Nonetheless, our hands are have met at in the middle of the little round coffee table, our fingers delicately playing, seeming to communicate their own messages. Our ankles cross under the table, softly touching.
Throughout breakfast, she keeps asking questions that I'd answered on previous occasions, then apologized for repeating the questions. It's as if her brain works much faster than her mouth. It's funny to watch her squirm for a second when she realizes it.
“You bring out the ADHD in me,” she says.
“Yeah, I'm sure it's my fault,” I say with a smile.
“I've got to stop hanging out with Leos, they're always calling me out,” she says.
Reaching into my bag I start running through some magic. Foam balls, mental card selection, smashing a die and so on.
She catches me palming on the smashed die trick, but then can't figure out where the die actually goes. It's so much fun watching someone who is able to hold to very separate things in their mind at once. In this case, both wonderment and the analytical process.
Later today, she's off to get her hair done by the hairdresser whose been taking care of her since she moved to Bangkok. The fist time she visited the woman, she was given permission to bring a bottle of wine, so the two of them got a little drunk – and the hairdresser also got a little high – and then she got a great haircut. They've been friends ever since.
Lindy is then meeting up with friends and has a few more bits and bobs to take care of before we get back together to watch Now You See Me 2. I've been pumped about this movie for months now, having loved the original one; I'm super stoked to get to share it with someone who loves magic.
However, Lindy hasn't seen the first one. She agrees to download the original while she's doing her hair so we can do a Now You See Me mini-marathon.
While she's off taking care of business, I've committed to meeting back up with Hanna, this time for some proper dice fun.
The plan is laid: 1) Hanna learns to ride a bike 2) We figure out how to make the giant bubble thing 3) We do something touristy 4) We go to a magic shop 5) We make a spontaneous short film in the streets of Bangkok 6) We go to a temple.
It's looking like Hanna is going to flake out again.
Her dad has fallen asleep, so she waiting for him to wake up and then taking him somewhere to get a massage.
I roll the die. Time to leave the over-priced cafe and get some soup somewhere.
Just as a man at Baan Saranrome places a large bowl of khao soi in front of me, I get a message from Hanna. She's ready to go.
I'd pretty much given up.
After a bit of back and forth, it becomes clear that it'll be best for me to come get her from the Best Western. I take my time with my khao soi, one of my favorite Thai dishes. The Chiang Mai style meal was not what I was expecting when the die order me to go get soup, but the curry noodle dish, garnished with crunchy noodles, shallots, pickled veggies and lime is exactly what I want.
I settle my bill and hike back to the BTS to meet up with Hanna.
She's wearing a black tank top and tight jeans, her bra is barely visible through her shirt. Unlike yesterday, where she had her hair put up, today, it's down in all its glory.
We're making a movie.
Hanna recently wrote and directed a short-short called “How was my day”, which is a running narration inside a woman's head as she walks home after dark. Given this experience, Hanna's in charge, but I have all the props – I'm rolling with my magic.
“We need a title,” she says.
“Dave's Got a Bright Idea,” I say. She scribbles it out on a piece of paper, misspelling bright, but catching it before we start shooting.
It's going to be a one-take film. We hash out the basics in about 90 seconds; get our props ready to go; and then: action.
Several laughs later, we're wrapped – and to think people spend months making a movie.
“Can we get ice cream?” Hanna asks.
The BTS takes us to Terminal 21 shopping mall, where there is bound to be ice cream. We fall right back into yesterday's rhythm, interesting conversation with random off-color sex jokes.
The first shop we spot is Haagen-Dazs – we're really not doing this cheaply. After far too much ice cream, and uncomfortably full, we ponder our next move.
Hanna says she doesn't like shopping, which is a shame, as I love shopping, priding myself as an ace shopping buddy.
Given this, Hanna ends up voting for a wander around the mall. We pop into a number of cute little shops, me consistently pointing out shinny gold outfits, which she has made clear she hates, making it all the more enjoyable to find them.
Though the right height for Thailand, Hanna is not proportioned like a Thai, we make a last ditch effort to find something for her in H&M, but it's a fail. The sweaters she does try on are simply too wide in the shoulders, causing all kinds of issues with the fit.
I, however, stumble on gold. Upstairs, we uncover a variety shop with pocket pussies, vibrators, gag gifts and magic – lots of magic.
The Thai guy behind the counter, Jib, started at the shop about a month ago and has been learning magic tricks from YouTube ever since.
There is a certain chemistry between two novice magicians that's, well magical. We both want to share what we're working on despite the tricks not being at a performance level, making them incredibly unimpressive to a layperson. Jib and I get wrapped up in it. Mostly, he's breaking out tricks that he's been working on, it's a blast.
Hanna, however, disagrees. She's fallen into the role of the patient girlfriend who is getting tired of listening to her boyfriend geek out about comic books.
I have to break it off with Jib. I buy a new fire wallet and two dice: a drinking die and a glow in the dark sex position die – seem like entirely appropriate paraphernalia for Dice Travels.
Will be interesting if, and when, these come into play. Photo: Isaac Stone Simonelli
Hanna is flagging from all the walking: it's amazing how much walking you do when you're shopping. I'm still on a magic high, but it's time to get a move on.
Outside of the mall, it's already dark. Lindy has given me the heads up that she's going to be flaky tonight, so I figure movie plans are off.
Hanna is ready for food. I'm fairly sure Hanna is always ready for food, which is one of those characteristics that makes a perfect travel companion – unless there is no food.
“There is a place a little way down the street that serves up some awesome khao soi. Want to go there?” I ask, purposely not mentioning that “a little way” is actually about a kilometer.
Hanna calls me out for failing to present all necessary information after several minutes of walking.
“I didn't say it was close, I said it was a little walk away,” I point out. “Plus, it's close now.”
It starts to rain. A hard rain that makes the tiles slick under my flip-flops. I nearly wipe out several times as we scuttle toward the restaurant.
Inside, we're dripping wet.
I order two khao soi with chicken and beers with ice.
“Getting me wet and buying me beer,” Hanna says with a grin.
“I defiantly got the order all mixed up,” I say.
Hanna doesn't love the khao soi like she's supposed to, but does enjoy it. By the time our bill arrives, the rain has nearly stopped outside.
Khao soi is a must try for anyone who claims they love Thai food. Photo: Isaac Stone Simonelli
Back on the sidewalk, we attempt to cross the street and grab a taxi back to the Best Western. Hanna has been keeping tabs on her papa, but it's really time for her to get back.
Stuck halfway across the road, we wait for traffic to ease. The road is dark and wet, the cars headlights catching us as they speed past.
I don't know what I hear or feel first.
It all happens at once.
Hanna leaps in front of me, I grab her with one arm and pull her close to stop her from running into the traffic ahead of us as a bus's horn blasts and the wind the vehicle shakes the back of my shirt.
Holding Hanna tight, I'm very aware of how wonderfully curvy she is, my arm wrapped high around her stomach.
Despite standing on the yellow dividing lines with red and white road division poles erect on either side of us, that bus nearly ended Hanna, as well as Dice Travels and myself.
Safely across the road, we are able to flag down a taxi.
I check my phone. Lindy's dropped me a line, best to just stay in this area and see what happens.
Hanna climbs into the cab pink and I wave her off.
Laptop out, I situate myself in a cafe on the fourth floor of Terminal 21 to get some work done while Lindy and I hash out a plan.
It sounds like something is a foot, but not a movie: Focusing may be hard for me, Lindy writes.
“Understand, if you're not feeling it. Just let me know. Chilling at Terminal 21 with my laptop and a coffee,” I write.
Silence. Forty-five minutes of silence.
One message away from being able to call it a night and head back to the hostel, confident I wouldn't be missing out on anything – a man's got to respect girls' night.
The cafe is ready to close.
Well, that's that then. I pack my laptop up and get back to the hostel.
“Come to Robin Hood,” flashes on Facebook messenger.
Grumble, grumble, grumble. Robbin Hood, an English Pub, is five minutes from the cafe I was at 30 minutes ago, but is now a walk in the rain, a MTR ride, a BTS ride and a walk in the rain away.
Despite my grumbling, I agree to come out.
It's getting late and the pub has mostly cleared out, except for a few small groups tucked into different corners of the bar.
I tap Lindy on the shoulder to get her attention. The woman who turns around isn't Lindy.
I fumble out an excuse and keep moving.
In the far corner is a group of about five girls and one guy, while Lindy is sitting with her curly haired Irish friend and a lad named Joe.
Lindy's friend, let's call her May, is completely wrapped up in the North Irish vs Ukraine match in the European Cup that's playing live on the projector screen on the far side of the large pub.
She apologizes for hardly being able to talk; she's consumed by the game. They started drinking early, and seem to have done a fairly good job of it.
Lindy asks if I want a beer several times, forgetting that I keep asking for a water.
When last call comes, Lindy orders three beers. May offers to pay with her card, but the card reader isn't working, so I cover the tab for the beers – it seems like the right thing to do.
The games tied 0-0 by the half, with both teams playing a fairly sloppy match.
One of the girls from the far table in the corner approaches our group and asks me to take a picture of them with a clunky Japanese Polaroid camera. It's one of the girls' 21st birthday.
After several attempts at figuring out how the camera works, we finally snap a photo of the happy drinkers.
“How do you know them?” Lindy asks.
She seems strangely suspect of the whole situation, as the girl did seem to beeline for me.
Four minutes into the second half of the fooball match, Gareth McAuley scores for Northern Ireland.
May is crippled with joy. Nothing comes out of her mouth, her eyes look past Lindy's attempts to congratulate her.
For the next 40 plus minutes, May looses all control. Starring intently at the screen, her fingers curl up, her body so full of emotional energy that she can't find a way to express it. Suddenly, she a scream bursts out of her thin body. She quickly apologizes. It's as if McAuley's header turned May into an autistic child suffering from Tourette's syndrome. It's hilarious.
In the last minutes, North Ireland sinks the ball into the back of the net for one more goal.
We can go home.
However, Lindy's promised May's fiance that we'll get her home safe.
We all grab a taxi together, with May threatening to vomit.
Despite protests, Lindy accompanies May into her apartment building while I wait with the taxi.
“Okay to U-turn?” the driver asks me.
He starts a long, slow drive around the back of the building, through the covered parking lot and around to the other side. Next to me is Lindy's backpack with her laptop and phone.
Back out front, Lindy is in a near panic – afraid I'd taken off with all her stuff.
Mostly relieved that I hadn't done a runner, Lindy climbs back into the taxi and we're off to her place.
Lindy turns the conversation back on my history of cheating.
“Shut up! Just shut the fuck up for one minuet,” I yell at Lindy in the cab. “If you want to keep asking questions about a super sensitive, private issue, the least you can do is shut up when I stat to explain.”
Lindy's digging at why I cheated on Jackie. I don't mind having the discussion, though I really don't feel like I have much to add to what is in the blog post.
Surprised and a bit bemused at getting me to snap, Lindy apologizes, her beautiful face trying its best not to smile.
I try to explain, again.
We pick up the line of conversation – again, once we're in Lindy's room.
The problem is that she wants to know why and at the same time wants a clear concise answer, such as “because I suffer from sexual abuse as a child” or something like that which can be used to explain why I've had a habit of cheating.
The answer, however, dives into the idea of being adored, the desire and gratification of people adoring you. The cheating was the result of pushing things too far.
Being a flirtatious person, I tend to develop flirting friendships, where the balance of power isn't even – leading to adoration.
It's like a base jumper pulling the cord later and later in a jump. The longer you wait, the better it feels. So in these friendships, I allowed the sexual tension to build and build, putting myself in riskier and riskier situations until I hit a tipping point and lost control.
That isn't the answer she's looking for.
I try to explain again, she interrupts me.
“But why?” she asks.
I get her to shut up for five minutes. It's an agreement, to stop her from talking over me and interrupting me while I'm explaining.
In the bed, straddling me, she's not allowed to talk for five minutes. I enjoy watching her squirm in the first three minutes of silence.
In the last two minutes, I attempt to explain, but it's just not working.
Though shes never cheated on anyone, Lindy sees a lot of herself in me – we are both Leos. It's as if by understanding my motives she can gain some insight into herself.
Eventually, we let it go, hitting the lights and quickly finding each others' body.
It becomes a war game under the covers, with our desires battling against the fact that it will be written about, as well as Lindy's general avoidance of one night stands.
I playfully attack, making progress before being banned to my side of the bed . We continue like this late into the night. By the time we fall asleep, general modesty and Lindy's fear of the public record are able to maintain the upper hand in what was clearly a war of attrition.
A bonus video for those that made it to the end of this post. Video: Hanna / Isaac