Sitting at gate 8 in the departure lounge at Don Mueang airport, each lonely contingent around me was enveloped in personal meditations. Each group was sat equidistant from the next; there was a strong feeling of helplessness throughout. People spoke quietly or else not at all.
I was due to fly to Phuket and had no feelings – neither good nor bad – towards my fellow passengers. A group of three girls disturbed the silence in typically drunk, English style. They looked like students, probably on a gap year with a list of destinations to tick off on an itinerary. They laughed boisterously and chattered constantly, exhibiting mindless traits. I immediately took a dislike to them as they made their way down the escalator and found themselves somewhere to sit. They might have been public school girls, I thought. “Be quiet you, you’ll wake everyone up,” one of them burst out with.
The trio of terrors had matching coloured hair. It was a sort of orangey blonde that could not have been done intentionally. Their ripped jeans and vests made them look like thugs. I was hesitant to look at them for prolonged periods for fear they might see me.
I shifted my attention to a man in front of me who seemed to epitomize gloom. He had short, nondescript hair, wore an awful pair of trainers, and looked like he may have been a teacher, or else a murderer.
A German wearing blue shorts and a khaki shirt was sat behind me with his son who looked to be around 12-years-old. The son had long, alarmingly blonde hair. I tried to read my book but was bombarded with German conversation.
I caught sight of a man who looked so pointless in his existence that he might evaporate. He was with a plain Thai girl half his age; not an obvious choice. Her body was shapeless, her face almost comical, and her demeanour as dull as her partner’s. They were sat opposite each other, leaning inwards, talking about banal things.
A Thai girl with headphones in her ears caught my eye. The white chords hung effortlessly below her hairline. She had an interesting face and I thought she had smiled, briefly, at me, or else she was just smiling in general; I like to think the latter. She watched me writing about her and I caught her eye a few more times as I continued. She was sat behind the three obnoxious Brits. I wanted to take her hand and rescue her, but alas, I am not so heroic.
There was a balding Thai man sat motionless, apparently asleep. He was all business: black, plastic-rimmed glasses, a gun holster on his belt for a mobile phone, his shirt tucked neatly into his pressed trousers. He had embraced his baldness by cutting his hair short; good man, I thought.
Sat waving his mobile phone in the air was a Thai man who looked utterly confused. His determined attempts to get a signal seemed not to be to make a call, but to receive one. He was waiting for somebody to call him, but I couldn’t imagine who that might be. His handsfree earpiece was redundantly inserted. I wanted to help – really, I did – but he appeared on the verge of a breakdown.
Ah, then came a dashing young man with two minuscule Thai girls as his companions. They looked to be his trophies, won in fearless battle on the streets of Bangkok. They giggled amongst each other and their excitement was almost contagious. He was almost twice their height, but they seemed to have him under control.
Another farang-Thai couple sat down. She was beautiful; he looked like he’d be good at arm wrestling. His face was serious; I thought he was British. He regarded me with contempt. I thought I might have seen him before, perhaps on a visa run in a past life, or in this one.
A middle-aged woman was sat making notes in a small book. She looked to be the perfect picture of motherliness, and then her daughter joined her. The bond between them was something to be jealous of. The daughter was beautiful, possibly British. She made me think of Jane Austen’s Emma.
From a distance I could make out a man whom I initially mistook as being a model. He looked to have long, slicked back hair, in that typical style you see amongst Bangkok’s beautiful East-European socialites. His partner was a busty Thai girl wearing loose white hot pants. Ah, but he came closer and his face looked somewhat like a beaver’s. He was no model, and his trousers were pulled up very high.
The plane delayed, the people restless, departure was imminent. Here we were, all drawn together as a mass of people with nothing in common other than a desire to get to the same place. How curious such situations are, as each group assesses the virtues of the next, and judgments, such as my own, are made and forgotten in an instant. The airport departure lounge is not a place for socialising; it is taboo to consider befriending anybody. People are guarded, good will is lacking; silent enemies longing for escape.
Techno' tags: Thailand