Tales from a Barfly
Two too many wives…
Wednesday, 16th July was one of those crazy days that can only happen in a bar in Thailand.
At around 6.30 pm, I received a call from Noo to inform me that my ex-wife, Dang, was there – at the bar – at Mobi’s!!. Fearing the worst, I asked her what she wanted, and she told me that she was just there to visit the bar and have a drink.
I hurried down to the bar and found her and 3 of her friends, (who I recognised from my married days with Dang), ensconced at one of the tables, all clearly well ‘into their cups’. They all greeted me like a long lost friend and Dang congratulated me on my ‘lovely bar;’ and insisted on buying me a drink. (Don’t’ worry, I had a Diet Coke).
Dang went on to tell me that she was doing very well for herself. She said she had a rich German boyfriend; no, it wasn’t the one she used to see when I was still married and living with her. It was another one, and she had known him for two years.
She told me that the German gentleman was in his thirties and was clearly very well off as he had already bought her a brand new Honda CRV (which was parked outside the bar) and a 5 million Baht house in one of the new villages near to Pattaya. On top of this, she owned a three storey shop house near to her new home, with her hair salon on the ground floor and her family living upstairs – all courtesy of her extremely wealthy German benefactor.
I was very pleased for her and told her so. After congratulating her for her good luck, I ventured to counsel her to go a little easy on the booze and make sure that she treated her latest boyfriend a bit better than she had treated me.
Her mood immediately changed.
‘He knows I like to go out and get drunk! He doesn’t mind. Even if he does, I don’t give a fuck! He can fuck off if he doesn’t like what I do!!’I’m not changing my drinking habits for anyone!’
I quickly dropped the subject.
As the evening drew on, more of her old friends arrived and greeted me with much wai-ing and hugging and Dang proceeded to get very drunk.
While all this was going on, Mobi’s other tables were rapidly filling up with customers – some old, some new. An old friend turned up alone and ordered a drink at the bar, whereupon Dang recognised him, gave a loud shriek and rushed over and hugged him, and insisting that he go and sit at her table.
Then two more ‘regular’ customers arrived and occupied another table. It transpired that Dang recognised one of these latest arrivals and told me she had been in his house!!!
He didn’t recognise her, but when she described his wife and daughter, he conceded that she must indeed have been in his house. Quite what she was doing there was not explained…
Yet more customers arrived, and Dang’s table, (minus my other ‘lone’ friend, who had ran away after quickly drinking one beer), became ever louder and ever more boisterous.
Then four young Thai ladies, (unconnected to Dang), arrived by car and took over the remaining empty table.
This was fine until one of these newly arrived ladies approached me at the bar and asked me if I recognised her. It turned out that she was Noi, one of my ‘old flames’ from my drinking days. She kept putting her arms round me and cuddling me.
“Did you ever managed to get rid of that nasty drunken woman that you were use married to?” she asked me….
‘Yes….Noi…I did – but right now she is sitting at the noisy table, over there,’ I said pointing at her table.
She hugged me again and stroked my face and tried to kiss me, while I valiantly I tried to extricate myself from her clutches.
‘Noi, I have a new wife now, and she sitting behind the bar watching us,’ I whispered to her
In fact both wives – numbers 5 and 6 – were watching the two of us with great interest.
She finally condescended to let go of me and I escorted her back to her friends who were waiting at her table.
I thought that would be that, but an hour later she grabbed me again and insisted that I escort her and her friends back to her car. All those present, including Noo and Dang, followed the departure with great interest.
By this time Dang was well and truly sozzled and was shrieking almost as loudly as the legendary female shrieker from the bar next door.
Then, lo and behold, yet another one of my old drinking friends turned up with another friend, and predictably, Dang rushed over and did her best to lift him off the ground as she greeted him with a drunken bear hug.
By this time she was so drunk that I feared the worst.
I ruefully recalled the countless occasions when her drunken ‘carousing’ would turn into a drunken ‘melees’; all those times when she would pick a fight with anyone and everyone (including me) and which often led to destruction of property and even physical assault.
So I sat with my newly arrived friends, wondering if and when the trouble would start and if she would pay the bill which had been growing in leaps and bounds during the course of the evening.
But I needn’t have worried – bless her…. At about 11 pm, Dang shouted across the bar to wish me a farewell and I turned to Noo who nodded back to confirm that the bill had been paid.
The ex’s table included one expat – an Englishman, (who had come with one of Dang’s friends), and as I bid them goodnight, I saw that the poor guy was totally perplexed by the evening’s drunken antics. He looked completely out of his depth with these drunken Thai women and he told me he had no idea where he was and had no idea where he was going….
Rather him than me….
As she left she told me to call her if I ever needed any help….
A lovely little post scrip to the above story is that in the course of the evening, during my various chats with Dang, she told me that Singha John, (you know, the drunken aggressive idiot who had been banned before the bar had even opened), had been to see her – to complain about being banned!!!
I mean, you really can’t make it up. A drunken idiot goes to complain to my former wife about the fact that I banned him from my bar. He knows full well that I have since re-married and he has even had a run-in with my new wife, Noo, only a few weeks ago.
What on earth did he think Dang could do? Or maybe his brain is so pickled he had completely forgotten that I had a new wife….
Is his alcoholism in such an advanced state that his pickled brain had erased the memory of my divorce and new wife.?
Dang thought it was hilarious….So did I.
Those damned bar tables….
Anyone who has been to Mobi’s or has seen the photos will know that even though we have a traditional bar where the drinks are served and is the place where the cashier sits, 99% of the customers sit at the ‘bar tables.’ These tables are the same height as traditional bars and the customers sit on raised bar stools, just like they would at a normal bar.
The great advantage of having these tables is that a group of customers can sit either side of the table and indulge in a group conversation, rather than having to sit alongside each other at a traditional bar, where the people sitting at one end can hardly hear what is being said by someone seated at the other end.
Tables are great for groups of 3 or more people to drink together and have a lively conversation.
Tables are not great when a complete stranger decides to join such groups and then hogs the conversation and inserts his own agenda, almost invariably about him… and him…. and him…
Then there are the ones who butt into a conversation that has nothing to with them and turns whatever subject is being discussed into an acrimonious argument….
Then there are the ones who are so pissed that they simply spout a load of utter nonsense and balderdash which has little or nothing to do with the conversation in hand.
And so on and so forth…..
You have all been there and you have all met them at a bar somewhere at some time in your lives
This also happens at ‘traditional’ bars, but least when you sit at a ‘normal’ bar, it is only the ‘end person’ who can be regaled and he can simply turn his back and ignore the newcomer and chat to his friends on the other side, sending an unspoken message that he is not welcome.
But when people sit at a ‘bar table’ it is much more difficult to ignore newcomers as they instantly become accessible to all those sitting there.
So what to do?
Tell him to get lost, I hear you say.
Yes, maybe so, but quite frankly it is easier said than done.
The newcomer may be a bit of a bore or a pest but he may be a good customer. He hasn’t started a riot or a fight, he hasn’t insulted anyone or bad mouthed the staff, so what precisely is my basis for sending him on his way?
OK, then the drinkers at the table could tell him to get lost.
Yes, they could, but how many people do you think will actually do this? They came to have friendly drink, not become involved in a confrontation that might get violent.
Most will simply become increasingly irritated by the newcomer’s arrival, pay their bill and leave, this being the easiest way out.
Such incidents as I have described have occurred on several occasions since we opened Mobi’s and whenever a group of drinkers see a ‘trouble-maker’ approaching their table, they will inevitably pay up and depart, to the detriment of Mobi’s bottom line.
It is an ongoing issue.
One evening last week, three of my most loyal customers – who are fast becoming very good friends – were having a friendly chat when another man who we all knew, but don’t very much like, joined the table and in a very loud voice starting hogging the conversation. He regaled us all with endless facts about himself, his business and his life, all of which we had heard several times over on previous visits.
My three friends were determined to see the drunken buffoon off and after 30 minutes of intense questioning, the guy actually admitted that he had been waffling and walked away.
But the victory was short lived as lo and behold as soon as the first ‘bore’ departed, yet another guy started an acrimonious argument with us.
We should have ignored him as we could see he had the bit between his teeth and was hell bent on disagreeing with anything we said, but human nature being what it is, he succeeded in drawing us into his spurious and ridiculous arguments. Before long he had us all on the point of punching him in the mouth.
Fortunately for him, the guys decided to pay up and go rather than listen to any more of the nonsense.
The man who had stirred us all up was also a regular customer and as soon as the others had left he changed the subject and he was as nice as pie….
I subsequently apologised to the aggrieved customers , but they are very decent souls and insisted it was not my fault and they hadn’t given the unpleasant incident a second thought.
It was good news that I hadn’t lost valued customers, but I am still losing business every time some drunken ‘bore’ or two decides to butt in on somebody else’s conversation….
I hasten to add that this sort of thing doesn’t happen that often, certainly not every day…but when it does….
Those damned bar tables…what to do? Any ideas?