Saturday was a little rough. Turns out, Barbados rum is powerful stuff. That’s probably why it’s a pirate drink.
We all rested, hydrated, and avoided strenuous activity. By suppertime, Lily’s sounded like a great idea, and there was some fantastic sidewalk-sitting. Julia and I had a plan to see Onward, Soldiers at Deep South. It was a small crowd, but a great show. It all started way later than we thought. We ended up with plenty of time to hang out at the bar and drink ginger ale.
That’s when we met Rudy.
Rudy, bless his heart, has confidence in spades. He can’t hear very well, and I have never heard his particular version of English before. The upshot of this, is that very little communication or understanding was taking place on either side of the conversation. Rudy spots Julia and me, minding our own business and listening to the opening act. He inserts himself between us and asks, “Areya thirsty?” We smile and point to our full glasses, and say, “We’re all set!” He comes closer and starts talking about how much he hates music, because it’s loud and he can’t understand the words. Not the music being played, which is quiet acoustic singer-songwriter stuff. Just music. Which begs the question, why is he hanging out at Deep South?
Rudy walks away, and we say, “Whew.” And then we realize he has only walked away, in order to pull up a barstool and become part of our evening. Rudy tells us we’re pretty. But he’s looking at Julia. And she is really pretty, and much kinder than I am about intrusions. He tells us again how much he hates music. And wants to know if we’re in college.
At that point, I start to love Rudy a little bit.
Julia, in one of the most excruciating exchanges I have ever witnessed, tells Rudy that yes, we went to college, and tries to explain what Art History is. This is all Greek, to our friend Rudy.
I downshift, hoping for some common ground, and ask what Rudy does for a living. He is a carpenter, which probably explains the 9 fingers. All Rudy wants to talk about, though, is his upcoming Hawaiian cruise.
“I haint decided whichun o y’all I’m a takin’ wid me on the cruise yet.”
Bless his heart, twice.
Eventually we manage to extract ourselves and head for the porch. He asks if he can come. Julia nicely tells him no. Thirty seconds later, he has joined us on the porch. He looks excited.
“The bouncers told me they’d throw me out if I din stop botherin’ you!”
Begging the question, friend, why are you here on the porch? Rudy must be a regular, given that bartender, sound mixer, and two bouncers were all protectively watching our exchange. We extract ourselves yet again, tell the bouncers it’s all fine, and then we raise our glasses in a secret toast to Rudy. Because he walks himself into a bar, scopes out the crowd, and says, “Those two. I’m taking one of those two to Hawaii. I just have to figure out which one.”
A little too persistent? Yes. A lot strange? Yes. Ability to read social cues? Zero. But confidence? Indeed. Confidence, and enough to spare. I want to be able to bottle and sell that. In carefully prescribed doses for those of us who are a bit shy. Just to carry around enough to be able to walk into a crowd, and say, “Yes. That one. If that one smiles at me, I will smile back and not just blush and look at my feet.”
Save travels, Rudy. Hope you meet that special someone, at your first luau of the Hawaii cruise. We’re not letting you buy us drinks. But we’ll cheer you on.