STOLL/Falling Uphill ©2005
Part I: The questions people ask
Where are you going? (Thailand)
I'm standing outside McDonald's near a smog-choked, double-decker intersection lined with mega
and mini malls. It looks like Anywhere, Planet Earth, but is, in fact, Bangkok, Thailand. My life came to a
grinding halt here, nowhere in particular, when a herd of conflicting thoughts collided and my brain
seized. I was supposed to meet a gorgeous woman named Pi, but Pi is like a man-eating pothole that lures
cyclists with her tantalizing, hypnotic stare. I have been pacing back and forth for 45 minutes wondering
how I get myself into these predicaments; on the bright side, if trouble didn't have a knack for finding me,
I wouldn't have a book to write. My problem is finding the resolution and hoping for some character
development -- some lesson learned from my tribulations? Who would want to read a story about
someone who rides their bicycle around the world, yet mentally goes nowhere?
I'm unable to decide whether to meet Pi or leave. But where would I go? I fish a hefty, ten-baht coin
out of my pocket and prepare a toss. Once my father gave me an ultimatum, "If you can't decide, I will
decide for you," and I realized that sometimes there is no right answer, that it is more important to choose
a course of action and follow through. In lieu of my father, I will let the coin decide my fate. It hasn't
failed yet. Just as I toss the coin, the whistling and clapping of a man distracts me. "Tuk-tuk?" He is
asking if I want to hire his motor rickshaw.
"Where you go?"
Everywhere in the world children play peek-a-boo, and everywhere in the world the most popular
question is: "Where are you going?" I often wonder what is the quality in the human spirit that inspires
everyone to spontaneously ask the same question. And, why isn't the most popular question: "What are
you doing here?"
"Nowhere," I respond and glumly mumble to myself, "I'm not going anywhere, not in any sense."
"Okay, two-hundred baht. I take you nowhere." The tuk-tuk driver says.