April 12, 2006

The other day I found myself early for a dinner date so I figured I’d kill a half hour at the restaurant bar. The man next to me wasted no time striking up a conversation. “Hey, pardner!” he said. Really. With the “d” and everything. “Hey, pardner! Is it still raining outside?” He was a gruff biker with a booming voice. He was not drunk, but he might as well have been. He wasn’t quiet about pronouncing things “fucking bullshit” so that everyone could hear. The bartender called him “Billy,” and Billy seemed to have taken an interest in me.

It was, in fact, no longer raining and I told him so. He then proceeded to tell me that such weather conditions were of concern to him due to the worn nature of his tires. I assured him that I had just driven ten miles with my sunroof open and didn’t feel a drop. After having addressed his meteorological concerns he moved on to family issues.

“Goddamned sonofabitch,” he said, talking about his adult son, who, if Billy was to be believed, was cheating on his girlfriend (a “damned fine woman”). I agreed that this was a shame. Billy, a Catholic, said The Lord frowned upon such things. “Don’t we all,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

Billy apparently had five daughters and only one son. I was invited to express my sympathies for such an obvious lack of male heirs. I said I thought he had very little to complain about. Billy thought about that and then agreed with me. “But you know what kills me?” I didn’t. “One of them married a Pollack.” Seeing he still wasn’t impressing me with the grave nature of his familial problems he went on: “and now one of them is marrying a JEW!”

“Wow,” I said. “That’s really something.” I thought briefly of telling old Billy that I was an atheist, a Jew and a black belt in tae kwon do, and did he perhaps want to discuss all three of them outside? But I know better than that. I smiled and kept my mouth closed.

A waiter approached and gave Billy the takeout order he’d been waiting for. Then as he got up he expansively announced to the bartender to put my beer on his tab. He shook my hand vigorously, then he left, leaving the bar in an eerie quiet.

The bartender looked at me and said “I’ve never seen that guy before in my life.” I just shook my head and said “fucking bullshit.” The bartender agreed.

No comments yet

  1. Ignorance must be bliss for old Billy.

    I’ve run into characters like him in the past. I’ve also considered telling them I’m a dem and a blue belt in taekwondo but I’ve opted for the “how ’bout them Packers” more often than not. You just never know what will set them off and if Old Billy would have had one too many and would want to pull a 12 gauge from off of his pickup truck gun rack.

    The problem there is that Old Billy’s 12 gauge is still faster than my spin reverse crescent.

  2. Word up. Plus it would have been most ungentlemanly to be seen brawling at the bar when my companion arrived.

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