I converse fluently in drunk-speak.
When in such a state,
I slur and mumble with the best of them,
Tossing in some krazy pointing, head wobbling, and spontaneous giggling to boot.
When not in such a state,
I translate the grunts, groans, and fluctuating volume changes of others with ease.
So much so that it really doesn’t register to me when someone is speaking in drunk,
I just understand.
This I mention because recently I had an encounter where I my first thought was …
“Holy krap, I can’t believe he just said that to me.”
Which was quickly followed by the thought …
“And I don’t even think that’s drunk-speak.”
Wanna know more?
Here’s the scoop …
I was in a foreign bar.
I don’t mean a bar in another country,
Or one whose patrons speak another language,
Or embrace another culture.
I simply mean foreign in the sense that it was not my home bar,
Or any of the other three of which I frequent with regularity.
I’ve been to this particular watering hole a few times,
It is definitely pleasant enough.
And I was there with some folks I know well enough,
But not super well.
Though combining the slightly unfamiliar location and quasi-associations,
I was slightly outside my element.
So I was maintaining a fairly sober state of mind,
Paying particular attention and awareness to my surroundings.
So that night I was nursing a Coors Light, watered down even further with an accompanying glass of aqua,
Which really means I was just a couple hops and barley from drinking pure water all night,
So eventually I had to separate myself from the pack and go to the restroom.
Which I did,
Upon leaving the restroom,
And turning the corner exiting the bathroom vestibule area,
I re-entered the full spaciousness of the bar,
Taking a few steps towards our table a distant half bar away.
I was doing the far-away gaze thing,
To avoid making eye contact with anyone.
But as my eyes were still in fact open,
I could not help but peripherally see a guy a few feet in front of me …
Step into my line of walk,
And while looking at me,
Clearly state …
“Nice Rack !”
Now, of course, you already know what immediately went through my mind:
“Holy krap, I can’t believe he just said that to me. And I don’t even think that’s drunk-speak.”
But the more pertinent question is just how did I choose to respond to such an observation.
So, operating in a super, high speed, mental fashion that only a brain tolerating Coors Light can perform,
I arrived at my response by first processing the following:
1. I am in a foreign bar, segregated from my posse for the night, which even if I wasn’t, tonight’s posse wouldn’t be of much assistance if things did take a turn for the messy. I probably should rule out stepping around him while lancing out a caustic “phuck off“.
2. I am in a foreign bar, segregated from my posse for the night, which even if I wasn’t, tonight’s posse wouldn’t be of much assistance if things did take a turn for the messy. It would make a lot of sense to step around him, not make eye contact, and walk back to our table without saying a word or acknowledging his presence. However, I’m really struggling not to say “phuck off“, though I might soften it up a bit by first saying “thank you“. Though again, saying nothing and ignoring does seem to be a prudent course of action.
3. I am in a foreign bar. I don’t remember surveying a pool table here, but maybe there is one behind me. Possibly he is simply observing a properly set up collection of pool table balls and commenting that someone did a good assembly job by acknowledging “Nice Rack !” Unfortunately, in pursuing that thought further, I broke my far-away gaze and turned my head around to see if there was indeed a pool table nearby, or even someone else to whom his comment might have been directed. This, unfortunately, had the unintended consequence of confirming to him I had indeed heard his words and making ignoring him now even less practical. Oh yeah, and there was no pool table, nor anyone else nearby that he could have been aiming those words.
Down to mere milliseconds before needing to make a decision, I worked my way towards my response.
Since he knows I heard him, I have to say something in response. Ignoring him is out of the question.
I need a response that is definitively dismissive as I don’t want to invite a re-encounter or leave open a possibility of encouragement.
I also need a response that isn’t going to be so completely offensive that things get messy.
I turned my head back towards him. Made eye contact, then tilted my head to the left and slightly forward so that my eyes were looking up. Looking at me, he was standing mostly tall with a smiley smirk. I laid out my own responsive smile without displaying any teeth, shook my head “no” in a sad-like manner, stepped slightly around him and while passing by tendered …
“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Move along. Move along.”
But it was the only quote I could think of quickly that sorta, kinda seemed to work.