Across from me, a married couple has seated at the table, obviously not locals. I estimate they are in their mid-fifties and from Mid-America. The woman has on all black and her shirt says “Scaredy Cat” with an illustration of a cat that seems to have electricity running along it’s fur and a painful looking facial expression. The man has on all blue — jeans and a tucked-in button-up dark-blue long-sleeve shirt. They both have on rattlesnake skin shoes. Actually, the guy has rattlesnake skin sandals, and socks. He may look cool in those rattle-snake skin sandals, but what he really wants is a pair of Mandals.
The guy kind of reminds me of Regis Philbin both in his appearance and demeanor. He is a small assertive man who “calls the shots” (but his wife is really in charge). Shortly after getting comfortable in their seats, the guy pulls out what looks like a fifty-pack of AAA batteries. I don’t think I’ve ever bought fifty batteries in my life, let alone carried a pack of them into a pub. The lady pulls out a couple of round plastic objects.
After perhaps ten minutes of assembly and deliberation, the woman affixes one of the round plastic objects to the side of the stair-case (they are sitting near the stair-case that leads to the second floor in the pub). The round plastic object is glowing orange. Must be a make-shift nightlight. It doesn’t really add much more light to the table they are sitting at, but the orange glow imbues a strange and soothing ambiance. Must remind them of the camper.
They order some food. The soup and salad arrives. The guy seems perturbed. He jumps up and tries to grab the door to the kitchen as a waitress walks in. Didn’t grab it in time! He paces a bit and then sits down. As a waitress walks by he makes the “pepper motion”. It is really good, the “pepper motion”. I could actually see the pepper grinder in his hands and hear it crunching. But the waitress is busy with another table and bypasses the “pepper motion”.
The next waitress walks by and he manages to stop her in her tracks. He does the “pepper motion” again, only better this time. He is loudly asking for pepper and making it unmistakably clear to the waitress standing in front of him that he needs pepper. Between the body language and the loud voice, I don’t think there is any mistaking what is being requested.
Imagine that! Soup without pepper!
He spills his beer. Not too badly though. Fifteen minutes later, after the soup and salad have been cleared, he spills it again this time getting some on his pants. Ahhh, the smell of beer pants.
His wife is outraged. “This table is too small!” This becomes the topic of the conversation. The guy is very chill. He doesn’t really care. She calls over a waitress and explains the incredulous situation of the small table which has caused the beer spillage. “We should’ve taken a trip to Vegas” she says after the waitress leaves. Now I understand why they came to pint night.
While the guy is fingering his iPhone, the woman stands up and grabs a waitress. “A glass of water. Just ice and water. No lemon. Ice and water.” She gets her water and finishes it. I think the woman enjoys polarizing the wait-staff as the opposition. The guy is still fingering his iPhone. An hour later, the guy is still fingering his iPhone.
I’m not sure which is more out of place. A local in a pub staring intently at his laptop, or a couple from Mid-America with a fifty-pack of AAA batteries and make-shift nightlight. It’s all weird and perfectly normal. There is no climax to this anecdote. I just enjoy these moments and wish you could join me.