Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Damn Shiny Car Wash

Here's a little story I've got to tell about one special day in the Kingdom. It was a tragic day, a damn shame really, a day with so much blissful potential and with such a sad twist at the end that I still walk by the setting of this tale and can feel a sense of loss -- lost opportunities and lost bliss. Truthfully it has been thousands of years since Eve made her snake-driven error and got human kind kicked out of the garden of Eden. Well my banishing error just happened three months ago on a typical Bangkok Sunday.
The evening before had been rather boring. I'd worked teaching my Chinese class and had gone to Tesco to pick up some groceries, the usual blah blah blah of life. But as I turned onto the street to exit the Tesco I noticed a very cool new business. Damn Shiny Car Wash and Caffeine Bar. Now I am a simple man. I enjoy sitting in coffee shops which offer me FREE wireless Internet, sipping on a mocha (hot or iced) doing some reading, writing, or just surfing the net for pleasure. I spend hours in coffee shops and in fact my novel which is coming out I hope at the end of April, ECHO POOL, was written almost in entirety in various coffee shops around Bangkok. I also love to have a fresh smelling, clean and shiny truck to roam around in. I love to get my blue Isuzu truck glistening in the Bangkok Sun.
So imagine a CAR WASH and COFFEE SHOP!
I arrived at Damn Shiny and was greeted by an eager young man with a towel wrapped around his shoulders. He was ready to go to work and so was I as I had my lap top slung over my shoulder and many writing projects peculating in my mind. I often work on three or four projects at once and on this day I had the urge to create -- true inspiration.
The owner greeted me in the coffee shop waiting area, he was a gentleman with a soft expression and a generous manner. He treated me as if I was a guest entering his home. "Welcome. We have the coffee," "Yes," I mumbled.
"We have free wireless."
"Sweet," I added.
"And a discount on your coffee since you are getting your car washed with us."
"Bonus," I concluded.
In truth this was a writer's nirvana. The aroma of coffee wafted from the counter as they went to work grinding my mocha beans and then brewing my drink. The Internet, especially because I was only the second customer, was lightening fast and I slipped onto the world wide web as easy as slipping between freshly washed sheets. Oh I felt good. This place was in my neighborhood, it was perfect, and it would be the place where I could become a regular and they would give me discounts on coffee and introduce me to their family members and offer me day old pastry and such. The novels I'd write in this place would not only sell but they would, as my fame grew global, become prize winners and the people at damn shiny would put a brass plaque on one table, the one I always sit at, that says "Reserved for Sim the writer."
I know you may think I was going a bit overboard, but embellishment is my life folks.
So Sim, what went wrong? After chatting with the owner for a long time with my enthusiasm for his establishment shiny through, he told me he would look forward to seeing me next weekend and that he really wanted to ask me as a Farang what I thought of certain products he was going to offer and so forth. We had really connected in that owner future customer way.
So my truck was beautiful, magnificently shiny as they pulled it up to the door and I paid and tipped and climbed into my truck with such a feeling of satisfaction and joy.
I began to pull out onto the narrow, nearly alleyway, street when all of a sudden a BIG GREEN TRUCK which took up one and 1/2 of the two lanes revved its engine and raced right at me. Quickly I swerved to avoid a head-on collision, but my back bumper caught the damn damn shiny sign and as I recovered from my maneuver I checked my side window and saw the sign teetering and then BOOM, down it went. With plastic engraved signs I knew it was probably broken.
What could I do? I had blown my chance to be a regular at damn shiny. I had killed this man's new sign. I started to pull over, but the cars behind me were honking and rushing me and it was then that I made the terrible decision. I did not stop. I punched it and drove away.
Days passed, then weeks, and now more than three months and still I have not returned to Damn Shiny. I have been banished by my own accord. I snuck by last night to take these photos and looked through the windows to see many happy customers typing away at their damn lap tops in their damn caffeine induced euphoria and all I could think was.
What might have been?