I am in Bangkok and it’s pouring. It feels like an Amazonian torrential downpour. I am praying it doesn’t flood because I really don’t want my white loafers to get dirty. Too late. I just looked down and it has an almost zebra-like hue. Crap.
I am at Oldies’ restaurant in Silom, taking a quiet refuge from the the rain and wildness than permeates the City of Sin. Paul Anka’s “She’s having my baby” fills the air, the waiter hums along. Images of Marilyn Monroe plaster the walls. She is quite the stunner. It’s my second consecutive night at Oldies’. Yesterday’s spare rib noodle was delightfully delicious that I just had to return. It is, in fact, the most delicious meal I’ve had in Thailand so far. Tonight’s Florida chicken salad paired with an ice green frappuccino is a mistake on my part. I nibble and sip, consoling myself in the fact that I have the best seat in the restaurant. It’s next to the door adjacent to the window. I can see everyone that enters and everyone who passes by. Perfect.
I love people watching, creating stories for strangers- imagining where they are going and what they are thinking. The Spanish lady in the hideous pink raincoat in a desperate attempt to shelter herself from the monsoon-like weather quickly bought a cheap 5 Baht plastic raincoat to keep herself dry.
Walking in the opposite direction is an Indian family wearing the blue version of her poncho-esk raincoat. The lady immediately stops, for a split second, and realises that they all look embarrassingly like colourful condoms. I chuckle. She comforts in herself in knowing that she is protected from the downpour. She looks at her pants, retracts her thought and thinks, at least she is partially protected from the downpour.
The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” now echoes in the background. I sing along, scanning the room. I see no faces, only heads; heads, deeply buried into phones. Outside on the streets of Silom Road a live action movie plays but it seems that I am the only one in the audience. Why isn’t anyone looking at the changing faces, the rhythmic dances, the kaleidoscopic costumes? I am angry, more disappointed in fact. Love at first sight can’t exist if no one is looking. How can romantic love stories be told or beautiful love ballads be written if we choose not to see? I sigh, bend my head gently and stare out the window.
Someone enters, I look up. Our eyes meet, hypnotized, we become temporarily lost in the other’s eyes. I feel a pang in my heart, my eyes are unable to blink. Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” momentarily ends the trance. We shyly share a warm hello. And that is how my love story began.
Truthfully, that didn’t happen. I wished it did. I kept staring out of the window for a few minutes, then asked for the bill and left, looking face forward at the world because I believe that maybe, just maybe, love at first sight can exist.
Jenson recommends: Opening your eyes and heart to the possibility of love.