Where am I? Do I just stay here and wait? Where are the signs? Am I supposed to follow everyone else? Or is the next train coming here? Do I go into the terminal? Are the stairs the only way? Where are the bloody signs? Do I go into the terminal? How can I do that if my ticket won’t scan? It can’t be there. Am I really supposed to go all the way back down the stairs? Where are the fucking– On a pillar? The back of a pillar where nobody can see it? Are you serious? It’s impossible to see when the next train– Oh, 7:45. 7:45? And it’s…7:46? Are these trains on time? Is this the stairway? Is that the…? Yes, they run on time. Wonderful. Fucking amazing. Another hour to wait for the next one. Should I even bother? Shouldn’t I just go home? I’ll write it down. That will make it better, get rid of my frustration. Fine, I’ll do that. Where is it? Where’s my fucking pen?!?
I had a dream that I was a soldier in the wings of a stage. I was waiting with other soldiers as I practiced my line: “We’d like a drink.” I was practicing that in my head when I noticed I was surrounded by peasants, small and young; the other soldiers were gone. I flailed at the black curtains and saw the other soldiers on stage and leapt behind them just as the Innkeeper said, “Vodka?” That was the line after mine.
I retreated to the corner to watch the drunken dancing unfold and thought. I am a person. I am not a monkey. I don’t look like a monkey. I don’t smell like a monkey. I don’t do anything like a monkey. I don’t know what I am . I just know what I’m not. I’m not a monkey.
I remember the voice rising in sing-song, pausing, starting again, climbing in soft melancholy, conveying the sadness of the world, stopping and starting again.I remember the pagodas everywhere, the nights cold, days without cover, crowds thick and a language impossible to understand. I remember the dogs fighting in the bushes while I haggled for something I didn’t want and then I was beside a truck, fighting to be heard. I remember my dusty feet, my bruised kidneys and my battered knees, feeling out of place and wanting to get home.
The world is full of beauty and wonder. Like everyone else, I seek that out. Which is why I was in Myanmar. And that’s the problem; I’m like everyone else. There are too many people like me, all of us seeking new vistas, putting pins in the map, collecting magic moments.. It’s depressing in the end. Like the phrase implies, “taking pictures”, it’s taking something just so I can present them proudly to you and proclaim, “Look where I was!”“Isn’t this great? I’m special, aren’t I?”When the truth is I’m not. I’m just like everyone else.