Screaming at a Guy Who’d Been Shot in the Head (40 Years Prior) as the Prince’s Motorcade Drove by in Thailand
In one of the more bizarre moments of my 27 Netflix worthy colorful travel experiences, let us dive into a particularly colorful afternoon I experienced in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
He stared at me.
Led in with a few kind words. Because he is a kind individual.
But after the initial pleasantries I saw he was getting at something.
The kindly man wanted me to park a substantial amount of money in my bank account because he could not funnel money through his Thai bank account. I had it. I was fuming. Angry. Seething.
Normally, I respond with a smile when someone asks a favor of me. I may be able to help. Or, may not be able to. Either way, smiling like the traveling Cheshire Cat, grinning ear to ear, being happy as a lark, to either be of service or to politely decline.
Why in the Hades would I vehemently want to say “Eff You!” (I didn’t actually say those words….but wanted to) to a farang in a lobby in Chiang Mai, Thailand?
Adding a more bizarre element to the experience, the Thai Prince’s Royal Motorcade was about to fly by as this scene unfolded. Said Prince at the time, and now, King of Thailand.
Let’s rewind for a moment. First, the object of my wrath.
The Object of my Wrath
Names shall not be discussed to protect identities. Kelli and perhaps 1 other Facebook friend will know this kindly man.
He was shot in the head in Saigon, during the Vietnam War. For him to survive, then, to walk, then, to do what he does physically, is in fact miraculous.
In fact, 99.999% of the time, I love the wise man. He has a warrior’s spirit, a humble yogi’s heart and a ball-busting way about him that is 1/2 Don Rickles, 1/2 Dalai Lama.
Anyway, the funny and sometimes frustrating man walks with a cane, with much of the left-side of his body being paralyzed. To live in a normal facility he requires the help of his kind wife and, the kindness of strangers and friends.
Most people understand this. A handful of people respect this fact. Some folks ignore him or avoid him, like an atheist lowering the shades as a beaming Jehovah’s Witness walks to their front door.
Again, 99.9999% of the time I am happy to help him, but I have to say: the limits of his asking for help know no bounds. He never hesitates to ask for help or, sometimes, to demand people to help him, for basic needs. Like say, for holding the door open for him.
The man is a fantastic social experiment for seeing how much someone can get away with living in a regular condo when he, without a doubt, should be in some assisted living facility where professional staff meets his every need, versus prodding, commanding or sometimes imploring folks to hold the door open for him, to carry stuff around for him, or to spend 45 minutes typing out a 10 sentence email (I am not kidding, as his brain damage from being shot in the head resulted in scattered thoughts, a garbled memory, and sometimes, a chaotic situation….).
Being the humble, funny, ball-busting and *totally over himself* guy that he is, the kindly man would tell me to make fun of him in this post, to bust his balls and to all but roast him. He would endlessly tell me what a pain in the ass that he is and deeply appreciates the help from his divine center….but also knows, genuinely, that to avoid being in an assisted living facility, he has to be an immense pain in your ass that you want to smack sometimes, when he endlessly badgers you for a litany of requests, shot your way in machine gun fashion.
Pema Chodron would want to slap him in the face after one of these “blanket ask” sessions.
Anyway….on to this colorful day.
The Ask and Verbal Slapdown
The kindly man asked me to park a large sum of money in my bank account.
This being after I spent many hours with the kindly man helping to send emails, write summaries for his book, and doing a handful of other things for him.
I reached my breaking point. My boiling point.
The kindly man is helpful, generous, imparts his wisdom and gives so much as well. But I couldn’t stands no more.
After he didn’t listen to me saying, “No, I cannot do it,” *three* separate times, he asked me again.
I then screamed a collection of filthy expletives that would have made Andrew Dice Clay blush. I sounded like a sailor-trucker driver hybrid, dropping F bombs with alarming regularity, shocking the living piss out of the face-saving Thai folks in the lobby who were used to mild-mannered, reserved Ryan.
Shell-shocked, the kindly man got the point. (Later he told me what an especially big pain in the ass he’d been that day….and we laughed about it, and moved on)
I stormed off to the 7-11 for a beloved Thai sweet snack fix. Stress eating.
As the remnants of my Farang Fit echoed through the condo’s hallowed halls, I noted how the streets looked not unlike the movie I Am Legend, with not a soul present save Thai military police who were stationed every 10 meters or so, at command.
Little did I know that Thai and aware expats (or tourists) headed indoors as a sign of respect when the Royal Motorcade drove through.
I didn’t get the message. Since I was behind the police – who did not spot this farang – I glided into the 7-11, bought my bizarre-looking but oh so delightful Thai sweet snack, traipsed out as the motorcade with its 20 plus Mercedes flew by, avoided police detection, and back to the condo I went.
I would later learn in Bangkok that you should be still, and face the Royal Motorcade as a sign of respect, as we were told to do by a policeman who caught us in a “moving violation”, getting us to stop and observe as the Royal Family drove by.
Another normal day in paradise.
Blogging From Paradise eBooks and Audio Books