It’s 3:42 am, and, while I did just go to bed a little while ago, rather than relax and go to sleep, I found myself planning a conversation with a particularly annoying regular customer of mine, and my heart beat faster rather than slower, and I was inspired, and I had to get up and write!
D is an only child. Me being an over-capable oldest of six, finding out that fact was the equivalent of “‘Nuff said”. D’s wife died of cancer at the end of last summer (for mercy’s sake, you can insert an “aww” here, but only a tiny, pathetic little one), around the time that we found out Mom had cancer in her brain.
For a while, then, it seemed like there was a bit of stuff we had in common. That little while was before him and one of my coworkers started, well, hanging out A LOT, and before he got seasonally laid off from his job. Doom approaches.
It began when D started making awkwardly smug overtures along the lines of helping me through the season of my mom being sick with cancer. He offered me books, which I at first politely and noncommittally said I’d read. Thankfully, they never materialized. Some time later, from his preposterously central (and unavoidable) perch at the bar, accompanied by an attempt to send me a secret message through a certain waggling of his eyebrows and a pointing of his eyeballs, he again offered books. I played dumb. Books for what? Did I ask for books?
“Well, for you know!!”
“No, I’m sorry. For what?” (I’m being barely polite now)
“Well, because your mother’s sick, and…” More waggling and exaggerated looks. “… and then we can talk about it.”
Neither the gestures, the words, or the intent were having any affect on me, however, and, between customers, I knuckled down and told him that I was grateful for the thought, but I really had no interest in reading any books or talking to him about it. Ever. Not even under duress. Okay, I didn’t actually say that, but I probably thought it.
“Oh, so you’re in denial.”
“Maybe. But I have my own people to talk about my denial with.”
Now, after a few months of his being off work and weeks of my seeing D every day, twice or three times a day, topped off with lewd comments about women, asking me to smile, and sitting for hours sipping wine and rubbernecking as I work the room, as if I had grown a third breast (sorry for being crass), I’m more than ready for that work season to begin again. I hope it brings with it interminably long days.
Only a dimwitted person would be oblivious to how little I esteem this particular patron. While he gets a terse, “Glass of wine?” (how dare he make me ask him every time?), the person next to him gets, “Hi! How are ya? What could I get for you today? Lovely day, isn’t it? What brings you to town?” (Exaggeration helps sell a story).
Then the other day came the icing on the cake. Between D’s second and third terrorist attacks, he called to ask in a very roundabout way whether I had the ability to translate from Spanish to English or not. Too soon afterwards, he resumed his perch and his vice, envelope in hand, greeting me with, “I’m going to owe you big-time”. (Just how much, I wonder, could this be worth to him?) Within the envelope was a letter written in Spanish. I wasn’t given any context or back-story, just handed an entree of gobble-dee-gook which I happen to understand, and some expectation on the side.
Hypothetically, if you were a pathetic middle-aged man in an albeit small town with several bars and you were a firm believer in the Spread the Wealth concept, and it was painfully obvious that only one person could stand you at one of those several bars, that one person not being any of the ones that have to serve you at the bar, would you in your right mind not only go three times in one day, but then, without reasonable introduction or explanation, ask a favour worth $50?!
Honestly!!! (Sorry for the multiple exclamation points. My face was seriously expressing that much shock and surprise.)
It being 4:17 am currently, I hope that I have sufficiently put this matter to rest for tonight, and will try to retire. Thank you.