Beer Lubrication

So I want to relate a story about beer.
Last Sunday I attended a wedding of a guy who I’d met only twice before; once in a liquor store in the presence of a crazy almost-naked dude wearing a loincloth, and the second time in the deafening molam haze at a local live house.
The first time was about eight months ago. T was visiting from Japan and we were buying beer for a front yard barbecue. We bought all the Leo longnecks and loose cans of whatever, as well as a case of Archa if memory serves me right. There were two (Thai) guys behind the counter, one of who rang up the sale. The other guy was sitting down and started talking to me in English. He said his name was Patrick, and he explained he was from around here but currently working in South Carolina (although I mistakenly heard this as “Southern California”). We chatted for a couple minutes and that was that until we left the store and saw the aforementioned naked guy doing something strange in the gutter outside. I went back in a and mentioned it to Patrick, who came out to have a look and explained, simply, “Oh, don’t worry. He’s just fucked up.” In a land of non-native English speakers, it’s sometimes such a relief to hear the simplest of phrases in my native language used so naturally.
The second time was two weeks ago. I was out at the live house celebrating three of my fellow teachers who had received their MAs. It was actually the third venue of the night (dinner –> karaoke –> live house), so I was feeling… happy. A student of mine happened by the table and said she wanted to introduce me to her brother. It turned out to be a familiar face – Patrick! He must have been pretty wasted too, because we greeted each other like old friends (I almost asked what had happened to the fucked-up guy, but resisted the urge), slapping each other on the back, doing multiple hand shakes, etc. I told him my wife was pregnant, and he told me that he was to be married the next weekend…
This is how Nam and I found ourselves in the parking lot for a grungy outdoor market in a small town an hour away from home last Sunday. Patrick had been very sure about the directions and told me it was in the market, which we truly doubted, and sure enough, the venue was nowhere to be seen. But a small town is a small town, and a shopkeeper on the corner knew the house we were looking for… It was kind of hard expressing to Nam why we were going to a wedding reception of a guy who I’d only known through beer, but that was half the fun of it.
As it turned out, the wedding was a blast. The food was great and I met Patrick’s whole family (his bride, too, for the first time). Everybody was really cool. Patrick looked like he hadn’t slept for a few days, and upon asking, indeed had not. When he had a few spare minutes, we sat down and shared a bottle of Leo, on ice, SE Asia style.

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