This issue of
Citylife

A Grand Entrance?

The e-mail was short, to the point and blunt. Daring’s pontifications and ramblings not required for a month. The editor had found someone else in my place. A blow to my insecure ego, a few days of sulking followed. I awaited last month’s issue of Citylife with interest. Who was the person responsible for pushing me aside?

Imagine my shock and surprise to find my daughter, D2, in my place. And what a no-holds barred piece she produced, portraying her dear, old, wannabe-writer dad and the family in ways I had not considered. Pride filled my chest and yet, I faced a dilemma. Not because of sensitivity to the contents; years of living with Mrs. D has given me skin thicker than a rhinoceros’s arse.

Artistic and creative flair should be encouraged but she went behind my back to conspire with the editor. I spent at least two minutes wrestling with my conscience. D2 has her life and career ahead of her. How could I give a message of support for her burgeoning talent whilst indicating my disapproval of the method? The decision came to me in a flash. Grounded for two months and a reduction in allowance. The ensuing argument caused Mrs. D to become involved.

As the major breadwinner, the perceived historic head of the household and with the ability to shout the loudest and longest without breathing, she proposed a different solution. It was passed by a majority 2:1 vote, any protests from me brushed aside without consideration. My pocket-money has been stopped and Saturday golf games cancelled until further notice. Bollocks.

Those of you who live in a household dominated by women will know, resistance is futile. Like living with ‘The Borg’ from ‘Star Trek’. Therefore, (1) to show Mrs. D what I think about her decision and (2) to show D2 that middle-aged men don’t spend all their time thinking about sex, I would like to dedicate this month’s article to a penis.

Not mine you understand, but one that stands tall and proud at the southern end of the canal road. When I say tall, it must be at least twenty metres high. Carved into a decorated slab which at night is illuminated to exemplify its form (although they might have given more thought to the colour choice). To make things really interesting, this, er, erection can be found outside a moo ban. Can you imagine giving someone directions on the phone?

“Yes, after the lights, turn right at the cock… no, not a chicken, an erect penis… big, orange thing… on your right, you can’t miss it…”

Although the similarity must be accidental or just the state of my mind, it typifies a growing (hah hah… get it?… never mind) trend in the latest housing developments built on the roads surrounding Chiang Mai. Increasingly large structures announcing the entrance of a moo ban are being constructed everywhere. We have the penis of course, but the gates from ‘Jurassic Park’ and something from ‘The Jetsons’ amongst others can be seen too. Drive round the ring-road or the 121 and you will see them. Each attempting to boast that what lies beyond is better than anywhere else.

Rather like Mrs. D’s opinion of me, the inside is often a disappointment. The polished pillars and structures reaching for the sky combined with ornate multi-floor guard houses suggest something of interest once through the elaborate portal. Alas, rows of identical houses on ever-narrowing roads and diminishing plots fill the eyes. I know, we live on one, although our entrance looks positively tasteful in comparison, being five-years old.

I am all for innovative and challenging architectural design. Things cannot stay the same way for ever. But these structures seem lost in the environment. To me it says more about desperation, trying to create an illusion of optimism rather than adding value to people’s lives which good architecture should do.

Still, as most people seem never to learn more than a few road names, they do provide an excellent source of new navigation points when driving. Passing the moo ban with a statue of a lady carrying an upturned basket and a giraffe on a skateboard will tell you exactly where you are.

As I picked up my camera and requested the car keys, Mrs. D asked me where I was going.

“To photograph the big willy at night.”

“Can you remember how to get there?”

“Yes, take the outer, past the ‘gates-of-doom’ on the left, the ‘WTF is that supposed to be’ on the right and turn left.”

She looked at me for a moment before replying.

“You are such a knob.”

“Ah yes, but now, my darling, I have found a bigger one to go and play with.”

She left the room.