Part I – Trouble In Paradise.
So I’m in Bali sitting in my usual favourite café/bar/warung enjoying a deliciously inexpensive meal and a quietly cold beer. After a big morning of riding around aimlessly on my bike and soaking in the human potpourri that is Bali I had built up an appetite for relaxation. I’ve given my order to the dependably perky waitress and eagerly await the forthcoming taste sensation.
As I entered the establishment I noticed a mother and son, or couple, or both, giggling amongst themselves. Judging from their laughter I assumed they were enjoying the relaxed ambiance that permeates everything here. They appeared harmlessly beige so I paid them no mind.
It turns out they were enjoying themselves. But for the most heinously unnecessary reasons one could imagine.
So I’m sitting in my usual seat, up front so I can people watch. As I’ve said before, I usually take this opportunity to sit in a mildly hazy beer bubble and invent complicated backstories about the passers-by in my head. However on this particular occasion my reverie and hobby were bizarrely interrupted.
By these assholes.
My usual seat just so happens to be opposite this apparently ordinary couple. I have a sip of my beer and put the most uncomfortable earphones in the history of the world into my ears and begin to lapse into relax mode.
I don’t turn any music on and I don’t take my sunglasses off; it’s amazing what you can see/hear when no one thinks you’re paying attention. Anyway, it wasn’t long before I regretted not turning the music on because soon enough the focus of their laughter became horrendously apparent…
All three of us watch as an elderly couple walk by. I think to myself “That’s cool as shit. Probably together for decades and still going strong. Awesome.” My benevolent backstory making is broken by the unbridled laughter of the possibly incestuous duo across from me.
“Oh my god, did you see their matching sunglasses!? Even if you’re old that’s pathetic,” says mum/cougar.
“Maybe they’re that old they couldn’t see themselves in the mirror this morning,” replies son/sex toy.
“Wow,” I thought to myself, “that’s harsh.”
And oh how they continued…
Shortly thereafter a group of four normal looking Anglo guys wander past, quietly talking amongst themselves, which prompts this response;
“Ugh.” Little Satan groans, “Why aren’t they in Kuta?”
“Yeah!” Jerk Queen agrees enthusiastically, “Shouldn’t they be taking pictures of trollops in neon bikinis and posting it on facebook so they can beat their chests to their equally ridiculous friends?”
Followed by more laughter.
Then a young, attractive couple saunter past, holding hands and laughing, quite obviously in love. What do you think our protagonists made of this assuredly completely bulletproof moment of sweetness?
“Why do couples come to Bali? Why do they get married here? I bet it’s because they’re too poor to have a proper wedding,” opined Mother fucker.
“Obviously Balinese weddings don’t count on the real world…” was Mothers response.
At this point my brain is full of fuck.
I don’t even understand. Why are they here in Bali? It is beautiful, the people are kind and warm, there are so many different cultures coexisting together, it’s a goddamn paradise!
Why the actual fuck are you systematically shitting on everyone and everything that enters your sphere of existence? Why go on holiday if that’s how you choose to spend your time?
Surely that’s something you can do from the comfort of your home? Or is this part of some word tour of bastardry? Are there Contiki tours that cater for that? Is that what this is?
I take my eardesroyingly uncomfortable earphones out and remove my sunglasses. I stare at them. Completely blown away by what I have just witnessed.
“Can I help you?” says Jerk Queen.
I shake my head and say – “What the hell happened to you.” It wasn’t even a question as much as it was a deep ponderance into the very core of their existence.
“I beg your pardon?”
“I think you heard me just fine.” I respond.
“Ugh,” grunts Little Satan and says, without the slightest trace of irony, “you can’t go anywhere without someone being a rude asshole.”
> You can’t go anywhere without someone being a rude asshole.
> Someone being a rude asshole.
> A rude asshole.
I don’t even.
Jerk Queen agrees, mutters a few semi justifiable curse words in my direction, and they both leave. My world is once again a peaceful bastion of kindness and understanding.
Part II – The Madness Returns.
So. A few hours after their departure the Jerk Queen and her Satanic progeny return and once again they take up occupancy opposite your humble narrator. Aside from a curt nod from Little Satan, a nod I don’t fully understand, I’m duly ignored.
I’m thankful for this small grace.
Now I don’t know how these two spent the last few hours between when they initially left and now but Sweet Christmas! If they told me that they’d left to think about what they’d said and done, then come up with a way to top that dickery I wouldn’t be surprised.
Gone is the wanton verbal sniping of random passers-by. How thoroughly pedestrian! No, they’ve decided to up the ante. I watch with righteous disdain as they withdraw notepads and pens from their backpacks and start drawing crude caricatures of couples walking by. Then indiscriminately rating the likelihood of their relationships being successful.
Because of course they do.
They judge apparent suitability based on the presentation of said couples through the 7 second aperture the front of the cafe/bar affords them. They estimate the correctness of these couples relationships being successful in convenient percentage form. Which, admittedly, is handy for me because I never quite understood decimals. Aren’t they just like percentages anyway? I don’t know. Thanks a lot Mr. Hillgrove.
Then the most surreal thing ever happens. No hyperbole.
They spot an elderly woman slowly making her way along the opposite side of the street. To which the Queen Jerk comments “How cute, we should go get her.”
At which point the Little Satan gets up without uttering a word, carefully navigates the busy street, and approaches the elderly lady.
Curiouser and curioser, I watch him talk to the elderly lady then point to the cafe where we are all… relaxing? Is that what we’re doing?
They both look at said cafe, and then slowly make their way back to the freakshow the cafe is becoming. Little Satan and Random Grandma.
I’m starting to feel like I’m living in a David Lynch film. Like I could look into the mirror and see that I am no longer myself but an elderly Korean man with a propensity to stick needles into my wang and, as it turns out, Travis was merely an imaginary life I had while I was still in utero, and now I’m cowboy.
So they sit there. Jerk Queen, Little Satan, and Random Grandma. In silence. For a full 60 seconds.
It’s weird as shit.
After waiting for the mood to be right(?) Jerk Queen and Little Satan tell Random Grandma what they’re doing. Now I’m not 0.100 sure if Random Grandma also though this was a pretty weird way to spend your time and just went along with it because she was in too deep to just get up and leave, or if this was a pastime that she too had been into during her younger years. Regardless, Random Grandma didn’t bat an eyelid. She nodded and began talking about their pictures and percentages like what they were doing was as normal as… I don’t know, something normal.
An apple I guess.
Did I take acid at some stage earlier in the day and aren’t aware of it? Who are these people!?! Why are their ranks growing? Why am I compelled to watch this train wreck of humanity continue to unfold?
For the longest time I’m too scared to go to the toilet lest I return to discover them all making out and no one else but me thinking it’s horrifying. Eventually my weak body is screaming at me to expel urine. So I capitulate, urinate in the specifically designated area – the toilet, then apprehensively make my way back to my seat.
And they’ve all disappeared. Gone. Without a trace.
If I hadn’t taken stealthy pictures that corroborated their existence I would’ve simply thought that an embolism had exploded in my head.
I hope Random Grandma is ok.