Monthly Archives: November 2012

In conversation with a Bangkok taxi driver in April

A taxi driver who took us to Suvarnabhumi Airport asked me where I came from. It happened that he also came from the same region as me. He then decided to use the vernacular which is common among people from that region. To be polite, I decided to use that local language too. The guy started to ask me quite a personal question. On the assumption that we were an item, which is entirely correct, he wanted  to know the nationality of my boyfriend. Surprised by his blunt question, I told him that we were just friends. In retrospect, I should have told him the truth, but judging from his expression and smile, I think he knew that he was right and I was not being truthful. I did not take umbrage from his inquisitiveness. Like most Thai people, he was just being curious and wanted to talk to me about anything. He even suggested that I should take my boyfriend to a certain area of Bangkok where a lot of gay men like to hang out. I thanked him and told him that I might visit the area next time I am back in the city. We continued our conversation during the journey to the airport. He wanted to know what it is like to live abroad. He then asked me about politics and how I was able to vote in the last Thai election while I was residing in the UK. I explained to him that I cast my vote by post. I did not want to know which party he gave his vote to; he told me nonetheless. The reason why he supported Yingluck and her party was that she had promised to raise the minimum income. He hoped that she would not go back on her word. I did not want to engage in a conversation regarding Thai politics. I changed the subject by asking him about a decent place where I can have an enjoyable massage in Bangkok – I was just pretending to be interested. “It depends on what kind of a massage you are looking for”, he said. I told him I was looking for the kind that provides me with a very happy ending.

The taxi driver kept on talking about different subjects many of which I cannot recall. Near the end of the journey, I was not paying particular attention to his incessant chit-chat. My mind was somewhere else. I was thinking about Aomame, a female protagonist in 1Q84, listening to Janáček‘s Sinfonietta in a taxicab. Thinking to myself what it would be like to be in the same situation as her.

Just before we reached the airport, the taxi driver told me that it was nice to chat with me. He said  that I did not come across as stuck-up, unlike some Thai passengers who had gone to live abroad, who tended to be condescending when dealing with people from his background. He wished me “chok di”. I thanked him and also wished him good luck with whatever he wants to achieve.

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