Does Everyone Know Your Name?
Being from America, everyone I know is familiar with the TV show Cheers and the opening section where all the bar patrons yell out Norm's name when he walks in. That got me to wondering what it takes in "The Big Mango" to be considered "a regular" at any of the local watering holes.
The first one is obvious, you have been there enough times that lots of people know your name, although that doesn't take much doing here because there are so few of us Farang that we kind of stick out anyway. But does anyone know your last name?
Do you know the boss and mamasans name? Does the boss like you enough that you have his mobile and home phone number? Do you have the bar's and boss's number on speed dial? Do you have three or more mobile numbers for staff in your phone memory?
If the boss takes a day off or has to go on an "important" errand does he leave you "in charge", better yet does he leave you "in charge" with "the pen" so that you can buy all the other freeloaders a drink?
If you don't show up for a couple days does the staff call your house to make sure you are not a lump of decaying flesh?
Do you hear the staff telling hilarious stories that start off with "do you remember the time (insert your name) did this stupid / unbelievable / absolutely crazy stuff while he was completely pissed"?
Is there a picture of you mounted on the wall recording your stupid / unbelievable / absolutely crazy stunt mentioned above?
Does the staff bring your favorite libation without being told, and do they know what mood you are in by where you sit? And if you are in a really bad mood does the staff give you a free back massage?
If other patrons of the bar want to see you puke your guts out do they know what drink you hate the most and insist on buying for you when you lose at dice?
Have you ever gotten so pissed on your birthday, holiday or any other day, that you allow the girls to drag you onto the runway where you proceed to dance with the girls? Or even worse have you ever removed any article of clothing while doing your best boogie moves on the runway?
If you are in a fog or so pissed that you forget your, mobile, umbrella, or shopping bag full of stuff you just had to have, at the bar and by the time you get home your phone is ringing and it's one of the staff or mamasan calling to tell you that you have been an asshole again and they have your whatever and will give it to you the next time you come in. When you finally get your mobile back there are no calls to Pakistan, or Isaan charged to it. Do you reward whoever found your stuff with at least a drink and or tip if the property returned is worth more than that staff member's monthly salary?
Can you leave your bill at the bar while checking out the talent at other bars and forget about the bill and go home and the staff just puts it aside knowing you will be back tomorrow?
Do you know all the backdoor exits and where they lead to so you can escape the boys in brown and or your ex that is on the warpath?
Do you know how to get to the bar during a pouring down rain storm without getting too wet?
Have you barfined more than half the staff and still see them all everyday and lived to tell about it?
If something you ate makes you have you have a screaming emergency do you know where the toilet paper is hidden so you don't have to stop and ask for some thereby causing your pants to be filled with noxious semi-solids and fluids?
When the local noodle vendor comes around do you break down every once in awhile and spring for 100 baht worth of noodles for the staff or better yet give the money to one of the staff so they can order the noodles for whoever they choose so that they get much face even though everyone knows you gave them the money?
Do you know the sex of more than three staff members children, or their names?
Do you know and remember more than three staff member's birthdays? Have you ever waited the night before and when the clock strikes midnight you call whoever's birthday it is over and tell them you want to be the first one to wish them happy birthday? How about doing that and handing them a small present and be rewarded with tears of sadness combined with complete joy because they are far from family and home and are stuck doing a job that they don't want to be doing. And they say "you are the first person ever to remember my birthday like that". Because they are one of 8 or 9 kids no one in their own family remembered their birthday or had enough money to buy them a present. Do the staff members care enough that they continue to wear a cheap Night market watch with a watchband that causes a bad rash to their wrist because you gave it to them for their birthday?
When your birthday rolls around do 5 or 6 staff show up at your house to cook dinner for you and then ply you with the cheap whiskey they bought. Do they give you presents that cost what you would spend in a hour at the bar but are a days wages for them. Do you wear with a smile the ugly shirt they got for you just because they bought it for you?
Do you proudly wear the bars t-shirt at social functions other than at the bar?
Are you a member or supporter of the bars baseball, football, soccer, or golf team?
Do the staff ask before grabbing a cigarette from the pack you leave on the bar and not take one when you are not looking? Because they know if they ask you will buy them a whole pack once in awhile.
When you go into the girl / boy toilet and there are staff changing their clothes do they stop and cover up, or keep changing in front of you while carrying on a conversation as you relieve yourself at the men's urinal?
Does the doorman warn you that so and so is angry with you for what ever reason so you can slip away or be prepared to confront the problem? Can anyone leave a message for you with the staff and you actually get the message?
Do you actually remember when the mamasan was a fox and was a dancer at another bar?
Do you understand that the staff never forget a slight and always remember a kindness?
Finally are you the only farang invited by the staff to their staff party/beach trip, pissing off the boss because he has been paying for the trip for years and they never invited him?
If you can honestly answer yes to more than three of the clues you can consider yourself a "regular"
If you fill the bill in more than 10 of the clues you should be honored to be a "hardcore regular"
However if you can answer yes to more than half of the clues you should consider spending more time away from the bar and maybe start a new career as an English teacher to keep yourself busy.
Well, I can only think of a handful of bars where I am known, and I like to keep it that way!