The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.
I’m on Khao San Road looking for something to eat when I notice the dark clouds gathering overhead. It has gotten to a point where I can almost feel the rain coming in my gut. Ten minutes, five minutes, two minutes away now. People continue strolling between the stalls as if nothing is amiss, ambling about through the humid haze of hot food, clothes, and sewage. Somewhat dizzy from the smoke and colorful array of stimuli, I stumble through the crowd onto the main road where a tuk-tuk seems to be parked at the ready, waiting. Not for me, but for a white family with kids that are standing nearby. Since they do not seem at all interested in riding, I hop on and give the driver the name of my hotel. He nods vaguely in acknowledgement and off we go on our way. In a direction only heaven knows.
Less than a minute later, the sky lets loose its wet barrage.
Bullets of water hail down from all around, occasionally ricocheting and hitting my legs and backpack tucked snugly away under the roof of the tiny moving vehicle.
I can’t help but think at times about how lonely it can be to be human. Lost in thought within a sea of other thinking thoughts. Traversing the universe as a soul, unique and special in every way, and yet feeling somewhat separate because of that remarkable distinction. We are the only ones of our kind moving about on coordinates that seem to match and then diverge from those of people around us. It can be frustratingly awful trying to forge a new path ahead when there are already so many freshly pressed ones lining the peripheries of our vision, weaving about in zigzags and crosses. Reminiscent of the lines, clusters, and hurried hubbub of Siam and the weekend Chatuchak Market near Mochit.
Webs of densely packed vendor stalls that seem to vibrate upon approach.
Notifying the owner of an item you’ve been eyeing about your activated interest so that from out of nowhere a body and a voice approaches, as though in predation.
Our first instinct is to run away, avoid making contact, or at least mine is. There is a fear I think, of being taken advantage of … Of somehow being coerced into paying more than you should for something that you don’t want. The same pattern exists around street beggars and newly made acquaintances. We navigate in arcs because we know too well the cost of connection. There is always a price to be paid for closeness. A sense of responsibility. We become a part of every person we come into contact with, and over time it whittles away at our energy. My greatest challenge is finding the strength to push past the initial effort required to open up and become vulnerable. To allow myself to become more than just an interested bystander and taking some risks I would otherwise talk myself out of doing.