It's Good Friday morning in New York. Christians are preparing to commemorate the crucifixion 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 was the last thing on their minds, since most of the week had been spent recovering from the previous weekend.
On Saturday and Sunday every time you mentioned you were feeling like ten pounds of shit in a one pound bag, your Thai wife muttered, "Som nam nah." or "Serves you right."
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 was better to leave your phone lost.
After you buy a new cell phone, your drinking partner called to say you didn't look too fat completely naked.
He had 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 treated her to shopping at largest beachfront shopping mall in the world and dined at her favorite restaurant. She ordered the most expensive food on the menu. Things were almost back to normal, but tomorrow is Friday and there was 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 opted for the coward's way out and used 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 had 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 was having trouble. He went out every Friday night and got 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 understood that when a farang said an hour he meant an hour, unless it had anything to do with drinking while looking at naked women. Then the farang's time reference was beamed to the international non-time zone.
This time warp was most apparent on your night out, when you looked at your new cell to discover that ited almost midnight and you've only had five drinks.
If you left now, everything will be perfect, except your friend, who's having all the trouble with his girlfriend, ordered a round of tequila and pushed you on stage with three go-go girls with whips.
"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 and your wife will never come with you, no matter how many times you offered. This way you can be free to get drunk, dance naked on stage, and lose your cell phone, because that was what's a good Friday night is all about in Pattaya.
As for Saturday.
That was the day of repentance and saying "Never again."
But your wife knew better and so did that go-go dancer with your new cell phone.