January 12, 2009

The Frog March

Yesterday was the second Wei-ya, or year-end party, I've been to with my current employer. It was everything that I expected it would be: loud, regimented, crowded, and with a short supply of libations. The invitation and map was mostly in Chinese, but I could read very clearly the times "11:10-11:40" --a little early for lunch, but I would be happy to look over such if it meant I could get back to my family early in the afternoon.

No, the fam didn't go with this time. Last year, we all went to an evening event and were seated directly in front of one of the speakers, making conversation at the table impossible. Then all the running around after the rugrats meant that I couldn't sit down at the table and sneak vodka into my juice from the flask a coworker had brought along.

All that was to be different this time. I went stag. I got in at about 11:30 and there was next to no one there. The whole thing didn't start until some time after noon. By that time, the fermented grape juice had been choked down, and most of the juice had been drunk twice. Someone at another table passed a beer to our table. That was 1.5 oz per person sitting there. Oh, except there were nine of us, rather than eight because someone refused to acknowledge the seating chart. So it was more like 1.33333333333333333333 something oz per. I won't factor in the Baptists.

The decision was made that someone should go to the 7-11 and buy some beer. Perhaps 12 or so. Perhaps someone with long legs who could get there and back quickly. And so I was chosen.

I rode the elevator down from the third floor with some colleagues of the boss, and stepped out into a sort of wedding procession. It was louder than hell on the first floor, and as I looked towards where that godawful music was coming from, I saw a man, maybe my age, maybe much older, being dragged out of the banquet hall by four big guys. He was in a fancy tux with lots of gold chains (because one's wedding is an auspicious event for  which much gold must be borrowed/worn) and kid gloves. I stepped aside so as to let his entourage pass by, and then the lucky bride, five paces back, when the groom lifted his head up to me and said, "Hallooooo! How do you doooooooo? Today is my...my...my Wednesday!"

I nodded back and smiled, trying to remember the last time I'd had a such a Wednesday, and prounounced "gyong hee" in Taiwanese. My only phrase. It was, after all, his wedding day.

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