She was really beautiful.
But you can’t just say that to a girl nowadays, so I asked if she cared for a drink. Well, first I found out her name by peeking into her passport as she appeared next me as I just walked through customs and she was browsing through it. Sarah. From the UK.
Ramon, I said.
Then I asked her where she was heading. Mumbai, India.
Cool. Me? Heading home, to Cambodia. She laughed. That smile. I asked if she was in Thailand on vacation. She didn’t look like a tourist, more like a well experienced traveller. She works for a hotel chain, she tells me and was heading to her temporary home in India after being here three weeks. It was nice to live in a hotel room once in a while, however she was really looking forward to her apartment with her own stuff.
It was then when I asked her to have a drink together. We both had to wait for our flights anyway, right? Yes, sure. That smile again. There is a Starbucks near the end of pier F, she said.
While I lurked from the straw of my iced mocha, she asked me about my reason for visiting Bangkok. In town for business? This is where I had to look for words.
I arrived yesterday, performed as a comedian at a gig and am returning back home again. I decided to actually say these exact words out loud and go for the shock and awe effect.
You are a comedian?
Well, not professionally. Well, sometimes I do get paid. But I haven’t done it for such a long time. I wouldn’t have have…. She interrupted me and asked me how it went. Last night. That gig. Actually very good. I think my set was pretty solid and the audience liked it. She congratulated me. Why I wanted to do be a standup-comedian. I smiled. There were none where I lived and I thought why not give it try. I would know rather fast if that would’ve been a wrong choice. She laughed. Her hand through her hair.
Nice confidence I have, she said. There was actually an option to perform in Mumbai this month, I told her. But things back home, in Cambodia, got priorities. I run a movie house in Phnom Penh, I said.
Now this is the point where any fresh conversation partner gets the warning lights in their heads turned on. Who is this guy? WHAT does he also do? And what’s next? As I am pretty far from the Mr. Average One-Job Guy. From experience I know that I can from now be a) a freak, dump that cup of coffee and run away fast, b) a very interesting guy or c) become very intimidating for people with the one-job life.
Hold on, she said. I wasn’t even going too fast, you see? This is where I normally introduce the existence of a movie house into people’s lives, as a big difference with big cinemas. And yes, that I run that movie house too, yes.
But none of that.
Are you that guy that runs that movie house in Cambodia? I have read something about that before! Didn’t you did some crowd-funding to save it? And you are Dutch, right? And you did something like that before, right? I am dumb struck. This lady is spot on me! You once travelled the world for free and wrote a book about that! How cool! Yes, I’ve read about you.
This the other end of fresh conversations I have and they are pretty rare. At least I am happy about being freed from the freak option or the pretty intimidating Jack-of-all-trades position.
She said she had to head to her gate as it was boarding time for her. She thanked me for the coffee. Told me I now definitely had to come to Mumbai. Do a gig there. Have another drink there. And she handed me her business card. Her smile.
“I hope you still write”, she said. “Bye!”