Bang. Bang. Bang.
“Open Up In There!”
Fists slammed, pounding against my apartment door, shaking the frame and rattling my entire room as I snapped awake.
Confused, bewildered, startled, I pawed a curtain of hair away from my face, my heart pulsing with generous shots of anxious adrenaline.
The fists beating on my door in the middle of the night contained such force, I felt like the breaking point of the warped old piece of plywood was feasibly near.
Terrified, I dragged a fingernail across the edge of my eye to wipe away any sleep caught in the corner, and grabbed a shoe in self-defense, before cautiously cracking the door open a pinch.
“Come on moron, let’s go to 7-11!” Matt cried out.
I should have guessed.
“Ummmm, do you guys have any idea what time it is?” I wondered.
“It’s karma, you’ve woken me up for the past two days in a row, a little retaliation was necessary.” Salman rebutted.
Unfortunately this was true, I had managed to commit the cardinal sin of phoning his room before 1:00 in the afternoon.
But somehow breaking down my door in the wee small hours of the morning didn’t seem to be retribution of an equal accordance, if ya know what I mean.
Perhaps not the absolute most cultured event to partake in this country, but ever since my arrival in Thailand I’ve found myself engaging in nightly trips frequenting 7/11.
About five minutes walking distance away, it typically ends up becoming an hour long excursion, after we ritually examine each aisle meticulously as if expecting some brand new surprise or thrilling addition to the merchandise.
Usually, as in always, this is not the case and the racks of gum remain just that, racks of gum.
I suppose I should point out the few slight cultural differences, being that right next to that infamous smoothie machine with the trademark cherry and coca-cola flavors, there lays bags upon bags of stacked rice.
And beyond that are the noodles.
However despite the fact that all tabloids are in Thai for some odd reason or another, everything else remains primarily identical to any other glorious gas station store.
Much to my joy and contentment, this includes Hershey’s Chocolate.
Insert chorus of hallelujahs here.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore cultural variety.
But after a very long day, make that multiple very long weeks of tongue scorching, eyebrow raising, brain pulsing, beads of sweat evoking spicy food.
A little taste of gloriously chocolatey chocolate is unrivaled along the lines of foreign delicacies.
But this evening it wasn’t the Hershey’s I was after, but rather the Valentines Day 7-11 special.
They’d been advertising for weeks prior this supposed cakey chocolate sandwich of godly goodness.
For the past couple of weeks, we’d planned on all going on a trek to get chocolate cake sandwiches on Valentines Day.
Sort of like matching tattoos between friends, but a bit higher on the calorie count, and a bit lower blood pressure for the parents.
Somehow when we planned this, I’d been thinking the evening of Valentines Day, maybe at nine, or ten pm we’d go on a 7-11 run, not necessarily at three in the glorious freaking morning.
But hey, what are friends for?
As I grab my chocolate, Matt ritually fills up on a couple of cheeseburgers.
How he manages to choke them down is a mystery I shall never comprehend.
It’s always a moment awaited with baited breath, as to whether or not they have cheese.
On most days they’ll pull out a package of thinly wrapped orange chunkiness and cutting open one end, squeeze it nonchalantly onto his burger.
Thus said cheese.
After microwaving the glorious chocolaty goods, we departed from 7-11 where we’re known on a first name basis, and sat in the abandoned bus station devouring our purchases.
I savored the spongy chocolate pudding that somehow yodeled, “processed” to a flamboyantly extravagant degree.
We wandered down the side of the road in a state of sleep-deprived delirium and discussed crucial matters such as Manchester United’s most recent victory and that epic goal in last night’s soccer game.
Then we wondered how Truls, the beefy Swedish study abroad gets away with wearing Crocs and still looking like a man.
You know, the important stuff.
And we sang a couple of off-key lines from club songs and praised Manchester United again and cursed the other team over nine, twelve, sixteen times.
We slowly meandered back munching, disputing the current consistency of the cheese spread in Matt’s hamburgers.
I guess it’s the little things in life.
Even if they happen to be filled with the most processed foods possible that it’s difficult to differentiate the product from the package.