I am a creature of habit.
I have a routine and rarely stray very far from it. One of the luxuries of living alone is that I don't cohabitate with other people with lives that interfere with mine. I don't get ambushed by someone else's plans that suddenly and unexpectedly become my plans.
If left to my own devices, on Tuesday evenings I'm at Smoke on the Water, on Wednesday evenings I'm at the Peddler Steak House for my usual meeting of the Wednesday-Night Irregulars, on Friday nights I'm at Soby's, and Sundays I may go to Smoke in the afternoon or, in nicer weather, to the Blue Ridge Brewery for happy hour outside.
That's my usual schedule and typically only being out of town or having out-of-town company might alter it. Yes, I know there are other wonderful joints in Greenville where I could hang out, but I like going where I know the bartenders, servers and managers.
I'm not exactly "Norm" in the few places I regularly go, but I'm known; I like that.
Changing my routine on a whim usually has consequences of some sort. Sunday evening was such an experience.
When Forest Gump sat on that bus-stop bench and said that life is like a box of chocolates because you never know what you are going to get, he was talking specifically to me about my Sunday evening.
I left Smoke around 4:00 on Sunday afternoon. I normally would have simply driven home. However, I was working on a story for my newspaper client about the Saab bankruptcy and I needed a quote from a Saab owner. My buddy Steve and his wife own a Saab. He also happens to bartend at Soby's and I knew he was working Sunday evening. I decided to stop in, have a glass of wine and get my quote.
I arrived around 4:30 and the place was somewhat less than busy. Well, it was dead, actually. I took my usual stool near the service end of the bar. The only other person at the bar was an attractive blonde seated a stool away who was in the middle of considering which wine she was going to order. She had three glasses with a sip or two in each that she was tasting. I like wine and this seemed the ideal ice breaker.
I asked her some question about the wines and she introduced herself. As it turns out, it wasn't her first time in Soby's -- although I didn't recognize her -- and she said she had seen me before.
I discovered she's in her early 40s, has owned several BMWs, and I think she said she did something with the flight industry. She seemed a little full of herself -- an A-type personality, but I've found most women who feel comfortable going to a bar and sitting by themselves are A-type personalities. So, no surprise there.
At some point she asked if I had ever killed someone. I don't know whether she thought this was a funny question or what, but I answered with a simple, no. I had no idea yet that, for her, this question is apparently a critical filter in determining which strangers she will converse with. Of course if I had ever killed someone, I would have just lied about it, but I guess that didn't occur to her. She did repeatedly say she majored in psychology in college, so maybe she thought she could tell if someone was lying. Yes, she was that full of herself.
Another guy around my age arrived and sat a couple of stools away from her on the other side. Eventually she struck up a conversation with him, but not before insisting that I move to the stool next to her.
As they spoke she coaxed him into the stool next to her on the other side. So there we sat, the three of us.
This guy was working it pretty hard. He got a little touchy-feely. She presented her cheek to him a couple of times for a kiss. I'm looking at my watch and thinking it was about time to get the heck out of there.
Then she did it and asked this guy if he had ever killed someone. I figured once she let the guy kiss her cheek a couple of times, he had somehow passed her test without the "killer" question. Nope; she had just forgotten to ask it. In fact, she asked him several times.
This guy decided to be clever and dodge the question with answers like: well, not so far today, and I've sure wanted to. The more she asked the more he dodged.
Somewhere in all of this, she made up her mind that he was some sort of serial killer. This is a guy who is evidently fairly regular at Soby's -- not as regular as I am, but then who is? But Steve recognized him from previous visits to the bar.
She was like a pit bull with a mail carrier's leg; she wouldn't let go. She leaned over to me a couple of times and told me to pay attention because she wanted a witness. I suspect she thought she was going to grill a confession out of him. He still didn't seem to realize she was serous; although, she was asking sneaky questions like, where's your wife's body buried?
This guy got up at some point and headed to the restroom. She squeezed herself onto my stool with me and seriously whispered that she was convinced he's a killer.
He returned and evidently had some sort of epiphany while attending to his business. Now he's a little perturbed. She lays right back into him, but he's no longer amused. He'd also figured out, after her telling him to keep his hands off of her, that he's not going get a little somethin' somethin' out of this woman; so, it wasn't worth putting up with her baloney.
The ensuing argument became heated enough that Steve had to tell them to knock it off. This gal, however, was on a mission and there was no knocking it off. She went after this guy again. This was about the time she broke her wine glass. Steve had had enough, got both their bills ready, handed the bills to them and told them to pay up and take off.
She leaned over to me and said that she was afraid to leave the building at the same time as this guy -- this crazed killer. She then turned right back to him and started in on the killer thing again. That was the moment Steve called the manager over and they escorted her out of the building.
I've been in a lot of restaurants and bars, but this is the first time I've seen a women escorted out. I've seen people cut off, but never physically tossed out. It was a new experience for me. A glass of wine and a show!
Yep, whenever I change my routine there are always consequences.