The Beach – Part 6

Good day everyone!

I realize its a bit early to resume THE BEACH stories, especially considering it’s now February and freezing here – like in the 70’s, and way to cold to be outside let alone in the water.

Be that as it may, I did find an occasion to update y’all.

JAX beach is the weirdest place I’ve ever been. Oh, good Lord. It’s not quite like Oregon freaky – most people have a full set of teeth here. But don’t be fooled. JAX beach has a plethora of weird and strange characters worthy of any Stephen King novel or Op Ed column.

So tonight, I’m sitting in my favorite pizza joint / surf museum – Cabos Island Pizza, drinking Yinglings, playing Tuesday night trivia, and this guy sits in the booth next to me.

Ed.

So he starts talking to me, telling me he’s new in town – visiting actually from Atlanta, and wants to know what’s good on the menu.

Before I get started, here at the beach it’s very common for strangers to make small talk and do the drive by hang out thing where you meet someone for a brief time (in a restaurant, on the beach, at the Pavilion, etc), hang out, and then go about your business. Most folks are very interesting and entertaining. Remind me to tell you about Brian from England, Fred from Miami or Bjorn (I kid you not) from Scandinavia. I gave Bjorn all of the sunscreen I had on me but I fear that wasn’t enough. If I could have actually understood the Scottish woman’s name I’d mention it. Do Scots actually speak English? They speak English, right? The Scot seemed really great except I couldn’t understand a word she was saying.

But I digress.

Back to Ed. As I recommend a few dishes to Ed I can’t help but notice he begins to dip his napkins in the many glasses of water on the table and reaches into his shirt and starts cleaning his armpits and surrounding areas. At the table. Really.

Dude! There’s a men’s room not twenty feet from your table. Good God man, do the right thing!

Now what’s interesting wasn’t that he was doing this in public. Repulsive, yes. Interesting, no. Nor that he is in a crowded restaurant while doing so. What I foun fascinating was that he appeared very comfortable washing himself in public at a dining table, and he talked all the while as if this was standard operating procedure for him! Even when I looked away and pretended I couldn’t hear him, he continued.

Having to see this – even from the corner of my eye, was revolting. But not being able to go away from a perfectly interesting situation I stayed in my booth. About this time I realized my pain wasn’t nearly as bad as the waitress’ pain was going to be. She had to talk to him, answer his questions. So as I write, I’m listening to him ‘try’ to order.

“Are your burritos frozen? Are they organic? Ok. I’d like a burrito but not the frozen kind. I want the onions and tomatoes – you do put tomatoes in your burritos right (didn’t give the waitress a chance to respond)? I want them sautéed in real butter until the onions just turn translucent.”

The waitress tried to reply but not before Ed asked, “do you have tzatziki sauce?”

Huh? Reminder – we’re in a beach side, Italian pizza restaurant.

“No? Ok. I think I’d like pasta. What kind of sauces do you have? Do you have a basic bechamel sauce? No? Ok. Do you have a marinara sauce with Greek oregano? No? All right then. I’ll have the salad. What kind of dressing do you have? Is your balsamic vinegar aged?”

Let me put this in context. One can get $2.50 Yinglings $1.50 Presidentes, or $3.50 mack daddy jumbo slices of pizza. The restaurant plays surfing videos 24×7 and everyone enjoys free trivia.

Aged balsamic vinegar? The poor waitress is probably nineteen years old and can’t even pronounce ‘balsamic’.

So after The Inquisition he finally settles on a salad. Relieved, I thought I’ll get to enjoy the rest of trivia night in the calming din of the usual trivia night commotion – people laughing and cheering, beer glasses being toasted, the usual chaos in the kitchen, and great music.

Except that didn’t happen.

Not long after the waitress sets down the salad I am treated to the sounds of him eating his salad. Now, I know what you might be thinking. How loud can a salad actually be? Loud. Much too loud actually. I didn’t have my noise canceling headphones with me unfortunately, so I was forced to endure the sounds of Ed eating his salad. Shortly thereafter I decided I’d had enough for one night so as I finish the last of my beer I see the wait staff take pity on me and all subtly wave that I should come to the bar so that I can escape Ed.

I bolt.

As I’m at the bar and I can hear the wait staff’s conversation about how the shortest straw has to be the next one to go deal with Ed. As we look over we all see Ed dip his napkin yet again into the many glasses of water on his table and wipe his hands and arms quite vigorously and thoroughly. The waitress says to the owner, “I’m not going back over there.”

The owner does a quick shot of tequilla and moseys on over and gives Ed his check. Fortunately for the entire establishment and all it’s patrons, Ed pays his bill and slowly walks out of the restaurant. So the question on everyone’s mind – which no one is saying out loud, is whether Ed will be back next week?

Stay tuned!

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