This post is written for those previously unaware of the looseness with which I employ the facts. I wanted to demonstrate that some of my stories have been mildly garnished with some fictional parsley. A request for garlic did not result in a marriage proposal, there was no sweet penguin bliss derived from a suspiciously administered ice-cream, and I am not actually on holiday; instead making all this up from the comfort of home. See how easily reality and fiction blend together?
Real life is always bizarre and entertaining and embellishing the odd story allows me to pretend I'm an old school puppeteer or poet. One that took historical facts and turned them into the (Non-Icelandic) sagas of our culture like The Iliad, the Bible or the Simpsons.
So it is with that revelation held firmly in mind that I recount an episode of backpacking life. Life made glossier by aforementioned artistic license and the need to finish the last of Stephs weed before leaving Ko Pha-Ngan. After reading the last post against my direct warning, Mum has been carefully preparing her Bail & Scold speech (Ta Sarah). So I have been fastidiously vigilant about concealing the fact that I am using, and not abusing, a certain method of enhancing actual experience that almost everyone else is openly flaunting.
Yet as fun as it had been, there was always a dark and sinister side that had no home in the sunny and sterilised stories that I have written so far. (Stories always connected somehow to my ass.) With increasing regularity the experience of blissfully minging of my cheeks was interspersed with an awareness that death was never that far away. Not necessarily my own impending doom but an heightened understanding of its interchangeability with life and its ever present and inevitable shadow.
Having slept through an alarm and miraculously woken half way between that time and when we were supposed to leave, this particular day was off to a less than auspicious start. A spliff and rushed pack later left me with dirty underwear, last years diary and a broken camera in my day pack to keep me entertained on the 12 hour trip back to Bangkok. The taxi was on time, a miracle in itself, but was driven by the only guy in the world who looked more stoned than we did. The first 15 minutes of the trip was spent trying to guess how many breakfast bongs this guy had nailed before dragging himself to work.
Then I remembered that my laundry was waiting back at the hotel reception. The driver skidded to a halt at our command, a promising sign that we were all still inhabiting the same universe. "Mai ben rai" he intones to utilise our limited knowledge of Thai and tell us that it's all good. All good, and back we go at speeds approaching a Mach faster that what most light aircraft are capable of.
A hurried exchange of laundry and baht with everyone in a panic except for our driver; deep in the joo-joo and psyching himself up for the flight back to the pier. I furnished his palm with a 100baht note, more as a prayer and pious offering for a non-fatal journey than as a tip for safely bringing us back to our starting point. Just prior to arrival I had been bemoaning the inevitable and imminent conking out of my laptop, and I probably should have beseeched a higher power than Bill Gates when I made my prayers for safe passage. My fate, like that of Microsoft's doomed attempts at global domination, was now sealed in blood, although biro would have been fine.
We hoped back into the taxi with most of our fears put to rest by the indelible sense of calm, purpose and self-belief emanating from Hans Solo. The fears left unchecked by his demeanor quickly multiplied to plague proportions when the entire range of the cars accelerator was totally unused with his foot flat to the floor from the get-go. Bond like action music started playing out of the fertile soil of our imagination and croaking vocal chords.
Mild paranoia then transmuted into neurosis faster than we could remember what we were first paranoid about. The roof! The roof! AHHHHH! It would crush us were the taxi to crash. Throw ourselves to the floor in the unlikely event that we would be able to react that quickly to the car over turning. Won't work as upside down we would fall to the roof, if my grasp of gravitational effect had not gone the same way as rational thought. Sit on the corner of either bench closest to the back and throw ourselves out when car and road change their usual points of contact. Yeah, that's it! And put my helmet on to absorb some of the impact.
Meanwhile the Millenium Falcon was approaching the port town of Thong Sala at speeds not even the Force could generate. A corner was taken too fast for my pounding heart and my morbid epiphany sent me over the edge. The car was going over! I launched myself into the stratosphere with NASA like precision and managed to clear the tailgate by at least 12 inches. The perfection of my trajectory was offset by the awkwardness of my chin first landing but.
Steph saw my bold leap into the unbelievable, and turned to see an open road stretching safely on in front of the taxi. "What the fuck?" she pondered as she tapped the driver to a skidding halt yet again. He got out and stared mouth agape from his door at my prostrate form crumpled 10 metres beyond his idling car.
I came too and the realisation quickly dawned on me that I narrowly averted death. Relief died suddenly at the hands of horror when I thought of my superior ninja skills allowing me to escape a fate that claimed Steph instead. I groggily raised myself onto my hands and gritted my teeth to face the carnage behind me.
Shock doesn't quite fully explain what came over me when I turned to see Steph walking towards me with her hands outstretched to the heavens and her lips pursed in a look of utter confusion. "What's that all about then?" Luckily enough, the many facets of intoxication meant that no pain was felt, no damage to the pride was too great and nothing needed explaining. The three of us were right fucked up and all attuned to the greater significance of lifes bigger picture.
Thankfully, and very sadly, this was to be our last journey together so the need to drown out aching bum whining will no longer overwhelm the desire to stop smoking.
And that's when I decided I liked linux!