It's an agoraphobia of sorts, and blankets you like the mid-morning humidity. A 15 million car freight train of humanity rushing this way and that, and you being unable to communicate with most, or truly connect with any.
The only way to beat is it to join it.
So you go out in the day and you go out at night. And you smile when you remember to because it's not first nature, especially when you feel so isolated. But when you do and it's reciprocated it eases the pain a little.
But some days, when you picked a hotel that's 4 km from the BTS it makes you feel that much more disconnected because now you have to negotiate with taxi or tuktuk drivers and it's so much easier to get a couple of beers from the 7-11 and go back to your room. Except this hotel has just 35 channels of tv and 33 of them are in Thai.
So you give into the thing you'd avoided since you arrived. The thing you've never done on any international trip--and hadn't done in The States for a long, long time.
You have dinner at a fucking McDonald's.
And you sit there, eating a meal that's distinct and familiar (though the fries aren't as salty as you expect from The Arches), and you look out the window at surroundings that are anything but. And you think about the friends and family that are on the other side of the world, who can have this same meal in a few hours' time but can't see you.
And then you dip a fry in the so-called chilli sauce, which in classic Mickey D's fashion is far too tame to be named for anything spicy.
It has the look and taste of sweet and sour sauce. Which, of course, was your go-to sauce as a kid for McNuggets--which you always got when you got McDonald's.
And then you tear up in a fucking McDonald's in Bangkok. But at least it helps the fries.
So if you're reading this, and you know someone I love, please hug them today. Because I can't.