marcel barang

Down for the count (down)

In English on 29/08/2011 at 7:33 pm


So I arrived at the office more than half an hour early: I had some Thai stories to Xerox in order to have them retyped in digital mode. I had hardly begun when it started again, just as it had late last night: that dreadful disco light heralding yet another bout of migraine, the fifth in the past ten days. Between the initial pinpoint developing into a half-eye-shaped blazing line finally pushed out of the orbit, I had twenty minutes to take painkilling pills or else risk a splitting headache.
I usually carry Cafergot in my shirt pocket ‘just in case’. Since I decided to give pride of place to that t-shirt, I wore no shirt, hence no Cafergot. I also usually keep two Cafergot pills ‘just in case’ in a drawer of my desk at the office. I had swallowed them a couple of weeks earlier and forgot to replace them.

Mildly alarmed and partially blind, I stopped everything to hobble to the next chemist’s, which I normally avoid as its Chinese female owner overcharges and is damn rude to farang customers.
She was true to form: 75 baht for a strip of ten pills (double the market price; no receipt), and when I took two pills and asked for some water, phor pen krasai, she told her sidekick to ‘bring ai meng a bottle’. I said ‘half a glass of tap water will do’. No way, Jose. ‘Never mind, then,’ I said to hurry out of there, but when I heard her grumble about the bugger’s unwillingness to fork out another five baht, I took the time to tell her it wasn’t a matter of money but of lack of manners and kindness – a comment which, I’m sure, was like ‘pissing in a violin to make music’ as my regretted grandfather used to say.
I bought a Yakut drink (6 baht) in a nearby shop instead and drank it on the spot and then smoked a cigarette waiting for the lights to depart. No pain, but the usual wooliness in the noggin – a bad start for the all-important interview.
The ASTV team showed up on time, relaxed, efficient, and kindly enough. I chatted with the pretty and bright interviewer while the other three rearranged the office to their liking. I was made to sit in my colleague’s usual chair with his perennial mess as background and samples of my various book formats spread all over his desk. A mini-mike was clipped to the neck of my t-shirt, its wire was made to run beneath it (‘Sorry … please allow me … sorry, sorry’: the first time a woman has laid a hand on me in close to two years), two cameras caught me and ‘Nong Pui’ at an angle and, with the compulsory initial wai to one camera or another, action!

Followed a fairly rambling chat I’m curious to see how much sense they’ll make it make. At one point early on, chairs were swapped over: relaxed as I was I made the one I sat on squeak with every breath I took. At another, batteries had to be changed.
After the cameras were wai’ed again, the team still kept busy taking close shots of my books. Shots of my website and blogs would follow.

Talking about shots, the rest of the day for me has been, shot, that is, because of the heavy calabash I sport but mostly because of the nervous tension experienced during that ordeal. I’m down for the count, with just enough strength left to write these lines.

As for the countdown, show time on ASTV News1 is, I’m told, this coming Saturday between 10 and 11pm.


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