One of the fun things about maintaining this blog is having some of the regulars at the barbecue joint as fervent readers of my ramblings, presumably entertained by the true-life narrative revolving around the place where many of them eat their fill and get soused on an almost daily basis. However, with a few exceptions, most of the regulars do not ever get to witness the parade of lunatics and losers that I often chronicle, and some began to wonder if my tales of drunkenness and mental illness were merely figments of my febrile imagination. Allow me to provide a case in point: two of my regular attendees and readers are Chez and Jayne, a charming and genteel couple with whom I hit it off immediately. I'd say that I see either or both of them on about four out of my five days/nights on duty, and they had yet to behold the spectacle of the random loonies who periodically cross over into our little barbecue world.
Until the other evening.
Chez pulled up a seat at the bar shortly after 5PM and proceeded to get his drink on while waiting for Jayne to join him after getting off from work. About a half hour later a rotund, middle-aged man appeared at the door and stared at it quizzically for a few moments; I could almost see the mice running on the treadmill in his cranium in an attempt to fire up his synapses enough to process exactly how to gain entry into the joint. His ham hand unsteadily grasped at the space opposite the door handle, and after about a minute of my boss and I gazing in wonder at his futile efforts to open the door from the wrong angle he sussed out the problem and stumbled in.
In one of those rip-the-needle-off-the-record moments the fellow blearily scanned his surroundings and presently locked his gaze on my boss, who was behind the bar and therefore the man to talk to in order to obtain volatile libations. My boss and I exchanged a knowing glance in agreement over the guy's fucked up state, a condition that he instantly verified by mumbling something rather unintelligible that was apparently "I want some more shots!!!"
Now let me tell you in no uncertain terms that this guy was majorly shitfaced — and I should know from such things — at a mere 5:30PM, so there was no way in hell that my boss was going to serve the dude; for those who do not know, it's against New York State law to serve liquor to someone who is visibly intoxicated, and this guy was in no way coherent.
My boss politely refused the guy any more liquor but made it clear that we would be happy to serve him soft drinks or food. Our ever-on-the-ball waitress/goddess, Tracey, breezed over to the table where the walking amalgam of gin sugars had situated himself and sweetly walked him through the menu with the patience of a saint, a task made all the more difficult by English being the guy's second language, and none of the staff are even remotely conversant in Polish. After Tracey successfully skirted the language barrier, the guy finally agreed upon a pulled pork sandwich with a side of macaroni and cheese.
While waiting for his sandwich the walking wasted gestured wildly, apparently irked because he thought our ceiling was dirty, and he suggested that he'd be willing to repaint it for us. That bit of grasping for work led to him asking if he could do general chores for us for cash (or so I thought), a notion politely rebuffed by my boss.
Presently his sandwich arrived, and when Tracey set it down in front of him he stared at it like it was a serpent, coiled and ready to strike at him. This standoff went on for the next ten minutes or so, and when he finally scarfed into the sweltering swine flesh I fervently placed a silent prayer to whatever barbecue gods there may be that the dude wouldn't blow Thunderbird-marinated chow all over the table.
During all of this Chez — remember him? One of the subjects of this entry? — sat wondering how the staff puts up with such nonsense on a daily basis, all while girding his sensibilities with steady doses of Budweiser. Soon, Jayne showed up and joined her husband at the bar, and was swiftly brought up to speed on the unfolding dramedy. At that point Tracey gave our bombed guest his check, and the guy then managed to convey to us that he was homeless and had no cash. He wandered into the men's room, and upon coming out he spotted Jayne, whom he walked up to and said "I'll see you later," apparently confusing her for Saint Tracey of Greenwood. He then packed up his belongings and departed. What the fuck could we do but let him leave? My boss concluded that by letting the guy off he was scoring points for his own personal karma, so what the hell?
Once the deadbeat cleared out, Chez and Jayne went off for about a half hour about finally experiencing what I write about and extending kudos to the staff for our seemingly endless patience with this sort of shit.
Welcome to my world, motherfuckers.