It's Good Friday morning in New York. Christians are preparing to commemorate the crucifixtion of Christ at churches throughout the city. Catholics will chant the Rosary during the Stations of the Cross, as incense fumes from holy thuribles. I will attend none of these rites and neither will any farangs in Pattaya, for while I might be on the other side of the world, I lived long enough in the Last Babylon to know that Friday night was special for wicked residents of that tawdry beach resort and most will be be heading down to Walking Street for fun and games.
The crucifixion of Christ the last thing on their minds, since most of the week has been spent recovering from the previous weekend.
Tuesday was wasted in a vain attempt to find your cell phone, with which you vaguely recollect a go-go dancer girl photographing you nude onstage and you judiciously decide that it's better to leave your phone lost.
After you buy a new cell phone, your drinking partner calls to say you didn't look too fat completely naked.
He does have photos.
You whisper into the phone, "Speak to you later."
Wednesday your wife has stopped staring at you like she wished you lived in a two-story building so she can push you down the stairs.
Thursday evening you treat her to shopping at largest beachfront shopping mall in the world and dine at her favorite restaurant. She orders the most expensive food on the menu. Things are almost back to normal you greet her a reconciliatory dinner at her favorite restaurant. She orders the most expensive items on the menu, but tomorrow is Friday and there's no way you intend on staying in the house.
You could be a real man and say, "I pay for everything. I'm going to do whatever I want when I want wherever I want."
But you better be prepared to sleep with one eye open for the next few nights.
Personally I opt for the coward's way out and use one of following five excuses.
"My friend is having trouble with his girlfriend and needs to speak with someone."
In order for this excuse to work, you have to prep your wife by telling her various tales of friend's woe. Even better if the two women don't like each other, since your wife will be pleased at her counterpart's misfortune.
Of course your wife will understand why your friend is having trouble. He goes out every Friday night and gets you drunk.
Always blame him. Believe me, he's doing the same.
Excuse # 2 "It'll only be for an hour or so."
Thai women understand that when a farang says an hour he means an hour, unless it has anything to do with drinking while looking at naked women. Then the farang's time reference is beamed to the international non-time zone.
This time warp is most apparent on your night out, when you look at a clock to discover that it's almost midnight and you've only had five drinks.
If you leave now, everything will be perfect, except your friend, who's having all the trouble with his girlfriend, orders a round of tequila and pushes you on stage with three go-go girls with whips.
You calculate. "One drink. One dance. Another fifteen minutes."
Next thing you know it's 3am and you have no idea how you got to this hotel room.
When you stumble through the door, your wife will ask, "Do you have any idea what time it is."
Once more blame it on your friend.
"Billie kept saying it wasn't late."
Blaming him is fair. He's not in the room and can defend himself later. All you need is enough time to get to bed.
Excuse # 3 "It's business."
Anytime you walk out of the house with 10000 baht it most certainly is business.
Especially since you invested every baht in booze and women.
Hopefully there's no return on this investment.
Excuse # 4 "It's my friend's last night."
This is a maybe three times a year occasion.
Your best friend is either going home to replenish his financial coffers or else doing a visa run to Malaysia. Your wife doesn't need to hear the whole truth. She knows you two together are no good, but at least there's only one more night of the guy who made you lose five cell phones in the last year.
Excuse # 5 "You can come with me if you want."
This one throws them off balance.
Your wife will say, "Okay."
But as the clock ticks down to blast-off she will realize that you'll make her miserable by taking her to farang pubs where Filipino bands do covers of dinosaur rock bands and the only food is burgers or sizzling steaks, and every man in the place is over 250 pounds and sweating like a Bengali laundryman.
One night like that is your wife will never come with you, no matter how many times you offer. This way you can be free to get drunk, dance naked on stage, and lose your cell phone, because that's what's a good Friday night is all about in Pattaya.
As for Saturday.
That's the day of repentance and saying "Never again."
But your wife knows better and so does that go-go dancer with your cell phone.