Let 2023 go down as the year I shat my pants in the Four Seasons Bangkok.
Sure, a lot of other stuff happened this year – some of it good, some of it not so good. I detached the ACL in my knee, for example, and did other assorted bodily damage while snow skiing in Idaho. I dashed out of a meeting with public officials in the Marshall Islands and barfed into an unplumbed toilet. I also watched grizzly bears fish for salmon on a waterfall in Alaska and learned what it’s like to have a sea lion chew on your swim fins while scuba diving in Baja Mexico.
Still, that moment in Bangkok, as I stood inside an empty elevator car at a hotel I could never afford on my own dime, praying to any god that would listen that it wouldn’t stop to let on another passenger, sticks out in my mind.
I’d traveled to Thailand (on crutches, post ACL surgery) to write a travel story about the thriving downtown scene in Bangkok. And it was glorious, a bustling world of tuk-tuks and golden temples and streets crowded with people.
The Four Seasons – a gorgeous hotel where an entry level room starts at $800 a night and there’s a staff member just to arrange fresh flowers – hosted me. On Day 1, a manager led me and two other journalists around the premises, showing off the spa facilities and art gallery and a few swanky suites.
I felt fine when I hobbled into the lobby on crutches to meet the others. Ten minutes later, as my guide slid back the curtains in the living room of a penthouse suite to reveal all of Bangkok unfurled like a fire-eating dragon beneath us, an urgent need struck.
I probably could have ducked into the bathroom in the suite, but that would have been obvious. And embarrassing.
My room was miles away, and in my panic, I couldn’t find a restroom between where I was and where I was desperately trying to get. I rode an elevator down one tower and scurried through the courtyard, knowing with more certainty with every step that I wasn’t going to make it.
And I didn’t.
Thank goodness no one else got on the elevator. I made it to my room and walked directly into the shower.
I recovered (physically, anyway) in a few hours. I still don’t know what caused my distress.
Maybe it was the future granting me a preview of what life will be like when I’m really old.
Thanks 2023, you’ve been a doozy.