OR SO I THOUGHT.
Twin and I went to that bar last night, to touch base with them about a pub crawl we're organizing. We were there on business. It was a slow night, our favorite bartender was there, things were looking up for a quick conversation. We sat down at the bar, got a drink, and hung out for a bit. Two guys were playing pool, a couple guys were at the bar, and that was it. A group of guys came in slowly, starting at the bar and moving to a table as their group grew. There was companionable chatter as the bartender joked around with everyone. Good music on the jukebox. A very nice night.
And then. You knew I was heading to a disaster, right? That's how I roll. This...old homeless hippie Santa walked in. Twin and I made eyes at each other. He pulled his bag in, sat down at the stool one away from me, and ordered a beer. Ok.
Something like this.
Then he handed me a CD and asked if I could peel the sticker off. ...Sure? I did my best, handed it back, he thanked me and ordered a round for us. Ok.
Never engage a hippie. Mistake. I immediately texted a friend and said he should come join us for a drink! You're done with work soon, right? COMEHAVEADRINK. He fortunately recognized the underlying SOS in my text, since it was a Tuesday night, and said he'd come up when he left work. He's a freaking knight in shining armor.
Santa occasionally asked me if I knew who the Grateful Dead were, if I had selected the music on the jukebox, if I liked music, if I talked to old people, asked my name 47 times, and asked us how to operate the jukebox. Twin gave him a tutorial. Santa asked what I did. I told him I'm a writer. He asked what I write. "Anything." He asked the bartender for paper and a pen SO I COULD PROVE IT. (I mean, seriously?) He complained about smart phones and my texting and fist bumped me for who knows what reason. I used the ladies room and upon my return, noticed that Sir Helpsalot had arrived and our things were moved to a table. Excellent. I sat down and we chatted for a minute, until Santa came and sat at the next table! He sometimes mumbled something and I mostly ignored him. Twin and Sir were having a safe, close conversation so I said I would be right back and fled from the table. Up at the bar, I talked with J, our bartender, about her wedding and met two guys who own a salsa company. They commented about me having a new friend. Please note that I had never met them before, but they were able to successfully read the situation. I said, yes, I believe I have so I will be hiding here for a while. J said he was staring. AWESOME. Got some salsa samples (SCORE), made some new friends. STILL BEING STARED AT. The salsa guys left, I went back to my table for a minute. A hot minute. Santa was wandering near the jukebox. Twin said he was asking if they had cars (No, creepy Santa, we're not taking you anywhere because that's how people end up on the news.) The group of guys had moved to the bar, and there was one open seat, with no seat next to it. Excuse me, I'm off to make more friends before Santa comes back. I used my new greeting, "Hi, I'm hiding here for a minute." The guys replied in kind, "You have a new friend." (It's the cool new greeting, everybody use it.) Somehow everyone in the bar picked up on the fact that I was not previously acquainted with Santa. By the way, everyone in the bar was about 10 guys, Santa, J, Twin, and me. Just so you can get a nice mental picture. J and the guys I sat with said he was staring and did not look happy. Awesome. Super. I'll have another drink please.
Three or four times, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Santa was just standing next to me staring. The last time, he poked my hair. (This is an unforgivable in my book.) J told me to make sure my drink was in front of me. She told Santa that I was on a blind date with the guy next to me. The guys actually gave me a seat between them. I've never seen Twin sit so close to our knightly friend.
Finally, Santa finished his beer and wandered out. Since the door he used isn't the one most people use, J told Sir Helpsalot to lock that door. We then commiserated over WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED. Twin and I hung out for a while just to be sure he was gone, having long ago made the decision that unless someone (and by someone I mean half the bar) walked us to the car, we would stay until he was out of sight. We all did some outdated dance moves to 'NSync, I apologized for "being too nice" to the guy, and I finally let out a breath I'd been holding all night. Different guys peeked out the windows to be sure he was gone, and finally Twin and I left. And by left I mean, peeked our heads out the door and around the corner, then ran to the car. And locked the doors. (Overly cautious? You guys, he touched my hair. I think we're all lucky I didn't call the police and report "a sketchy hair-touching bad Santa with too many rings on his fingers" and request that a car come by.)
I will say, despite it being a truly weird situation, it was almost heart-warming to see the whole bar rally to keep us safe from this guy. Also to hear that Bad Santa has never been in there before. Mostly because we're hoping he won't be back. We even made some new friends!
Plus I got some salsa samples. I'm actually going to call the night a win.