On The Perils of Over Preparation;
Or, A Case Study in Over Excitement.
In the life of an officer worker, especially during winter, black suits, black handbags, black brief cases, black laptop sleeves, and black wallets predominate. The colour conveys a certain I-expect-to-be-taken-seriously image, I suppose. But it can all get a bit dreary. And, for those of us who are visually challenged – I can’t do without my specs these days – demanding. Ever tried to find a black wallet inside a large, black handbag? If you’re a traveller or, for that matter, a worker of a certain age you’ll know exactly what I mean. If anyone under the age of forty is reading, don’t worry – this is coming to you, too. I promise!
When, during the middle of last winter’s dreary blackness, the chance for a return visit to Bangkok was first mentioned there was no hesitation – not on my part. The trip was earlier than planned. But among my life lessons, so far, is the one about grabbing hold of opportunities. So the dates were set, the tickets booked and, heavens above, I joined a gym. The last on this list was shocking to me and everyone who knows me. I might be the lifelong (well, almost all my adult life) supporter of a running enthusiast but exercise and me … let’s just say we have never been the best of friends.
For fifteen weeks I was at the gym four times a week. Ear pods in place, I muttered along to a Learn Thai podcast I’d found on the web while I sweated my way towards travel fitness. You see, on the trip nine months earlier I’d been frustrated at my inability to convey the simplest of things. Some basic phrases might help with that, I thought. (They did, a bit.) Also, I’d discovered, surprise, surprise, I wasn’t as young as I used to be. When it came to keeping up with my travel companions, I couldn’t. The problem was exacerbated by the usually urgent and repeated necessity to find the conveniences. I’m a determined sort. And this time I determined that if I was fitter then things might be easier.
Part of my preparations included a shopping trip. Here in New Zealand there’s a chain store which is full of nifty things for travel minded people. They have great sales. After each shopping trip I walk out of that shop not only full of plans for the next big thing but with a bargain! I added to my supply of light weight cotton clothing. And I bought a silk sleeping bag liner (best buy, ever and ever!) along with a new travel handbag. This last item was carefully selected. Solid construction, not too big and not too small, compartments and pockets for tissues and lozenges, and webbed shoulder straps – they protect against theft – it met all the requirements. “Just right!” as Goldilocks once said about chairs and porridge. Best of all it wasn’t black. It was PINK!
At home I put the handbag in the cupboard along with the rest of my travel equipment. Sometimes, when there are no adventures are on the horizon, I’ve been known to open that cupboard and go through my gizmos. In addition to those most recent purchases, there’s a travel hairdryer, electrical adapters for England, France, USA, and Thailand, a specially designed laundry bag with a handy portable clothes-line and a natty pocket for pegs and laundry powder, luggage cells for separating my belongings … I won’t go on, you get the picture. My visits to that cupboard probably show me at my desperate worst. Nevertheless, I’ll fess up, going through my travel stuff is oddly comforting when it’s a long lag between trips. (I bet I’m not the only one who does this.)
A day or two before I was due to leave for Bangkok the shop ran another sale. I couldn’t resist. In the middle of the last-minute hurly-burly of preparations I went shopping. Proudly, I returned home with the one travel accessory I most needed. A travel wallet. And, it was PINK! To say I was feeling smug at this most successful of purchases would be a completely reasonable assumption. A pink travel wallet. There’ll be no trouble finding that inside my new travel bag, I thought. None, at all. It would stand out brilliantly against the black lining they put in handbags, I thought.
I opened my new handbag and yes, you guessed it, the lining was PINK. Almost the exact pink of the wallet. Of course it was. Why wouldn’t it be? The handbag was pink!
There would be no quick grab of the wallet in this bag. Or of my phone, the case for that is PINK, as well.
I told myself what was done, was done. Which it was. Told myself it didn’t matter. It was only my pride that was hurt. I suppose somebody else might have guessed the lining of the handbag would be pink, might even have noticed when they bought the thing. But I’m not big on details.
A solution was found on my very first day in Bangkok. At Munjai Cafe.
I bought a few presents to take home and this grey traveller’s delight for myself.
Postscript one: Kiwis travellers can be identified the world over by their devotion to the brand of travel gear discussed in this post. I was sardined into the Sky Train in Bangkok one hot afternoon when a couple squeezed their way into the carriage. Their backpacks were from The Shop. (I’m not saying the name, despite the content of this post it’s not promotional!) I grinned at them, through the crowd, they smiled at me. Kiwis? You bet.
Postscript two: In case you’re wondering, all that sweat and toil in the gym paid off. I could keep up, I didn’t get sick, and I acclimatised more quickly. So there you go, all that stuff they say about exercise being good for you – it’s true.
Categories: Off-shore Adventures