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Running away from Home

Melissa gets wasted for the first time...film at eleven

THAILAND | Tuesday, 2 February 2010 | Views [284]

When I got back to my bungalow after the hike, I scrubbed myself, my shirt, everything. The stains were going to be stubborn to come out and I had these little prickly stems attached to the sleeve that would require a concentrated effort to remove. I was half tempted to throw the shirt out and purchase a new one. After my shower, I wandered out the pavilion where R had taken a seat at a table and was chatting with some fellow from the UK who was now an expat. Actually she was lamenting the loss of some of her clothes after taking them to the laundry in Chiang Mai. She hadn’t brought a lot with her, so she was down to two outfits instead of four and this greatly distressed her. She was talking about how hard she had worked to earn the money for her trip around the world and didn’t the Thais understand that not all westerners were wealthy. He retorted with the story that several years ago, he had packed up a lot of sentimental items to have them shipped to his new home in Thailand and he never saw them again, so he has no physical evidence of his life before about ten years ago. He said you get over it and move on, but this did not satisfy R, so she went on for a little while longer about the injustice of it all before the subject moved on to something else.

After a while, the UK expat disappeared, but then reappeared with a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label and several bottles of Pepsi Max. He started pouring servings of both into glasses and passing them around. After the day’s two hikes, my entire body ached, especially my feet. My little toe had still not recovered from ramming it against a small stump on the beach of Phi Phi Island and I had a blister on my heel the size of a quail’s egg. To say the least I did not mind a little liquid anesthesia, especially since I didn’t have to pay for it. I took one glass and finished it hoping that it would take effect quickly. I rarely take a drink because usually the first thing to relax is my bladder and I worry that a hard sneeze or a good laugh may bring about an embarrassing consequence. I took a furtive glance around and made note of the nearest ladies room. When I looked back down at my glass, I noticed that it had been refilled with the amber liquid. The UK expat smiled at me and then placed a bottle of Pepsi Max in front of me. I didn’t like the combination of the two together, so I just drank the whiskey neat, and I opened the bottle of soda and drank that separately. My usual abstinence from liquor is not puritanical in nature. At the age of four, I had already found my vice in the form of sugar and I was true to it. R was still on her first cocktail and the expat had just poured my third. I think that he was amused by how it was hitting me. He said that the combination of Johnnie Walker Black and the Pepsi Max was a giggly drink. It doesn’t take that much to get me giggly. I can usually do it with just a little sugar and an amusing thought, but for some reason, I kicked another one back. V was shocked at this. I had told them that I had never been drunk and that I am a lightweight. I started to list all of the injuries that I had sustained on this trip to Thailand as the room began to spin. Just about that time, a fellow from another party joined us and the UK expat poured him a tall cocktail so that he could get caught up. The new fellow was a chaperone for a group of kids from a progressive high school in Washington state that included a trip to Asia on the curriculum. We all chatted about education and how the students in Asia are different from the students in North America. Most of it I remember, but around 10:30 my eyelids started to get very heavy.

The UK expat who had been such a bad influence now became very paternal. He took the glass of unfinished whiskey away from me and told me that I didn’t have to finish and that it was okay to go to bed. His voice sounded like an echo from far away, but I understood well enough. I excused myself and tried to walk in a straight line as I exited the pavilion. Since I have full memory of the evening, I know that I had not been really intoxicated, but everything is relative and this was new to me. I was so happy to reach my bungalow so that I could just lay down and close my eyes. I thought that I would fall into a sound sleep, but surprisingly, I stayed awake replaying the events of that evening in my head. This was amazing! I am so self-conscious, even when I’m intoxicated. At one point, I rolled over in an effort to get more comfortable and I was hit with a wave of sea-sickness the likes of which Poseidon himself could not inflict. I ran to the bathroom and prepared to re-enact a scene from The Exorcist, but some deep-breathing brought the crashing ocean waves to a manageable roll. Once I regained my sea legs, I stumbled back to bed and fell into a fitful sleep.

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