Bangkok becomes a different city by night. We’re forced to congregate around the tiny pools of light shed by the street vendors and the miserable cafe’s that set up under the cover of darkness. People get crammed together along busy streets and the amount of personal space one enjoys during daylight hours shrinks by half. I found myself counting the number of lice on a fellow passengers head and didn’t find it strange. I also noticed that people generally smell worse than I had thought. All because the weak reach of the fluorescent bulbs make us distill the nature around us into potent little snippets of reality.
We took a seat a table for two that was occupied by five, pretending we were civil enough not to eavesdrop. Noodle soup is a great leveler when space is so limited. During the day I would have watched the busy office girls and boys go by, all neatly dressed in company attire, attesting to their willing grasp on the flawed modernity of this great city. At night however, the uniforms are of a different design, crafted for another business that requires just as much education. A I enjoyed my fried noodles and pork a steady stream of well made up and dressed girls, boys and the third sex in Thailand, the boy-girl flowed past us. In a city that truly never sleeps there must be someone working to keep the lights on.
The night watch poured steadily out of the tiny sois towards the main streets where public transportation would whisk them into the tawdry areas of the city where lights were dimmed for obvious reasons. I thought how brave a person had to be to work in those professions. I’m not convinced that anyone given a choice would choose to do that.