Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Broken Glasses and Pockets

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2008 is HERE and it seems like I'm still making plans for the 1999 count down, it was going to be the end of the world as I recall it, but here we are 8 years later still hanging around doing much of the same old stuff.
This year's New Years Eve was sort of a bust for me because I did everything wrong. I always spend New Years Eve with the same group of friends, its a 6 year tradition that I love keeping up. But somehow I just got off to the worst start with this year's festivities.
First all of us failed to secure reservations, I was in town and should have done it, but I was sort of nervous about trying to please all my friends, so I left it to everyone else. In a panic similar to mine, someone booked us at an Italian restaurant close to the count down area of Central World. Now this was a fine restaurant we arrived at, but I -- not knowing the down town area at all as I tend to avoid it 364 days a year -- found myself walking into a place that might as well of been in the hills outside of Los Angeles. It not only was completely western, an Italian joint, but it didn't even offer Thai food.
I got off to a real shity start when I lifted my bottle of wine to show my friends and then turned to ask how much the cork fee would be. Now this is Bangkok, wine in restaurants is still somewhat rare, so most places don't mind if you bring your own wine and they charge you a little 100 baht or something to open it, and often by the end of the night they just let it slide all together if you order enough food.
"It's 1000 baht to open it."
"Fuck me, really?" I said like an idiot. The waitress looked at me as if I had climbed off my bus stops' bench and slithered in doors for the first time in weeks. "Well the bottle was only 600 baht, I think we can order cocktails instead."
But I continued to blunder. Not knowing what part of the city we were going to, I hadn't stopped off to get any CASH (idiot alert) so of course on this street there was NO ATMS. I had about 2500 baht in my pocket and when I looked at the menu I realized I wasn't in Lad Prao anymore. Even a plate of dry bread, four little slices, was 250 baht. The food was 400 to 700 a dish and this is Thailand, you don't order what you want and pay only for what you eat, we order and share the food like a family. It's what I love about eating out with Thais. You order lots and lots of little dishes, everyone takes a bite or two and then when the bill comes we just split it per person.
I'm sure my shoulders must have been sinking when I did the math and realized my lovely wife was going to have to watch me do the dishes for us to get out of there.
The place was very POSH you know, so we had these kind of Tom Petty Alice in Wonderland couches we were sitting at, it was stuffy and I couldn't talk to anyone. I had gotten off to a bad start so I decide to push our tables together and so we could at least sit close enough to hear each other. BUT, the table I thought was one long rectangular table turned out to be 2 small square ones. They were covered by a black table cloth and when I tried to pull the two of them I pulled only one and the other stayed put. A table full of wine flouts, water glasses, two plates, and one tall glass candle holder teetered upon the cloth for a moment and then -- as if someone turned on the gravity full blast -- it all came down smashing to bits upon the marble floor...
Well now that I had destroyed 12 or so dishes and increased the price of our meal to DOUBLE I sort of lost the spirit of New Years. Thank God for Pat and Golf who are close enough friends to put up with me even when I get into a morbid FUNK.
But I have a theory, that every bad NEW YEARS EVE will bring a MAGICAL New Year. Yin and Yang you know. It hasn't begun well, but 2008 just may be the year of my life. Or, will it be like so many broken dishes, just SMASHING.