He’s a big talker. Several people have described him as talkative. He’s new to Thailand, but not to Asia, so he knows it all. A giant by Thailand standards, with an ample girth reinforced by his favorite fanny pack, waistpack, or bum bag, he likes to know everyone’s business. And he used to be my neighbor, until I moved.
I could easily hear, what I can only assume, his personal conversations because he spoke loudly (or because of his Skype connections). As a result, I knew his bank account number, his phone number, how much he paid in rent, for gas, and why he came to Thailand. I heard more than I ever wanted to hear. He’s not a bad guy, nor a stupid one, but I was surprised by his happy trust and ignorance.
This is Thailand, after all, the Land of Cheats and Smiles. Now, this is not to say that Thailand isn’t lovely and wonderful, too. It is! And this is why so many expats flock and nest here. In the “West”, being a cheat or a liar is considered very dirty and morally wrong. But in the “East”, being a liar or a cheat is considered smart and savvy – at least to some. Unfortunately, there are many stories tourists and expats could tell you. #ohculture
I suppose it was only a matter of time, then, before a bigger fish came to our little pond to challenge Arthur. Even though Artie liked to wear scrub tops to possibly invite and incite questions about his former occupation, our latest neighbor, on the other hand, could be seen going around topless.
Jimmy was also a retiree. He had a satellite installed just as soon as he moved in. And from what I could tell, not many possessions. Any doubt that he was indeed moving in, was eliminated when we heard the distinct sound of boxes opening. I didn’t like the way he looked at me, so I can’t say what he really looks like. Maybe in a lineup I could identify him, maybe not.
Upon move in, Artie settled in Jimmy’s living room where they began to have a lively conversation. I played music. I tried to ignore it, but eventually I went upstairs with my b/f and then we heard it – the best opening line after an awkward pause.
Jimmy: So, what’s your deal? Are you gay or straight or what?
Artie (Silence, pause): Uhhh, I have to admit that I’m straight.
Jimmy: Me, I like the more feminine ladyboys. They just wanna be friends.
At this point, we’re laughing as quietly as we could. So, we missed what I can only imagine Artie’s thoughtful response. You have to understand that we lived in houses, but even though, noise carried incredibly well due to the open windows, open doors, and close proximity. I feel I have much more privacy now that I live in an apartment.
These two big bad boys then went on to talk about how much money they spend on women. Artie admits to spending 1,000 – 2,000 baht. Jimmy says, “What! How long have you been in Thailand? You’re paying way too much. Most of these women are alcoholics. They’ll do it for free.”
Yeah, it’s a colorful and eye-opening conversation. Once again, something I don’t want to hear, but when you leave your flaps wide open, you invite eavesdroppers (including one who happens to be a writer, who happens to have a WP writing assignment on characters).
Rounding out the afternoon with singing and harmonica playing, my b/f and I decide we should move up our moving out date.
A few days later, Artie yells from his house (he does this a lot), “Hey, Jimmy, can you turn it down a little?”
The TV is turned down. Jimmy walks around the pool to Arthur’s house, “What was that? I couldn’t hear you.”
“I asked you to turn the TV down a little.”
[mumble, mumble, something about changing TV stations] Then, Jimmy walks away and says, “Don’t tell me what to do. You’re not my boss.”
Fast forward a day or two. The landlady stops by Jimmy’s house, but is unable to open the screen doors.
“That’s my Artie deterrent.”
She laughs and later we hear Jimmy jokingly say he’s got Artie repellant as well. At this point, I’m wondering if the landlady understands he’s not joking, really. And has it crossed her mind what we told her? Tell Arthur to leave us alone.
We are grateful to be leaving. And now we are glad to be gone. I didn’t want to be the audience in this little play set in“Verona” with these two feuding houses of “Montague” and “Capulet”. Although, I do wonder who will move in our place next.
So, what’s your deal? Are you gay or straight or what? 😉