Monday, July 26, 2010

The Raspberry Vinaigrette Man

Joe, Michelle and I were having dinner at Mac's, a local restaurant that serves great Scottish food. We were seated at a table right next to the door. Suddenly a clattering noise came from the door as an intoxicated street person tried to enter but was having trouble working the door knob and still maintain a grip on his open bottle of malt liquor. He finally wised up and left the bottle outside on the street, then stumbled into the restaurant on shaky legs.

I am a magnet for crazy (they can smell their own) so of course he immediately stumbled over to the head of our table. I was dreading the usual request for a handout but instead he suddenly began to sing. "RAAAAAAAASPERRY VINAIGRETTE!", he belted out in raspy croak then convulsed with laughter. It was so random and so strange that all three of us joined in and started laughing, too. This he took as an invitation, so he pulled up a chair and sat down.

"RAAAAAAAASPERRY VINAIGRETTE!" he sang again, once more busting out into loud, crazed giggling. "You see that commercial? The one on the TV for that salad dressing? They got that song they sing, RAAAAAAAAASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE!"

We were laughing and people were staring. Because the man was loud and clearly shitfaced.

He suddenly turned his attention to Michelle. "Well ain't you something fine! Baby you got it going on..."

Michelle happened to be a lesbian, so I said "I think you're barking up the wrong tree."

He did not get my meaning. Rather, my comment flipped a switch somewhere and he started yelling at me, suddenly every bit as angry as he had been jovial.

"You know what you are?" he screamed, pointing at me, "You are a Penis Head! You are a motherfucking Penis Head and you need to mind your Penis Head business!"

At this point a waiter appeared. He, too, had some advice for me. "Sir, your friend is disturbing the other customers. If your friend can't behave we might have to ask him to leave."

"Penis Head!" Raspberry Vinaigrette Man shouted again.

"Does that really sound like a friend? This man just wandered in, sat down and started raving."

"Just the same, sir, if you can't keep your friend quiet..." the waiter said and prissed away.

Joe, meanwhile, in a moment of cool collectedness worthy of Clint Eastwood, had walked to the door, retrieved Raspberry Vinaigrette Man's bottle of half finished malt liquor, and quietly said, "See this? If you don't leave right away I'm pouring it out."

Worked like magic. He left, although not without a final shout of "Penis Head!"

I've seen Raspberry Vinaigrette man several times since. Once on a bus, where he was causing a very similar disturbance, and later in front of a gay bar where, as patrons would exit he would ask them for a hug and in doing so try and lift their wallets. Later on the street, having no memory of meeting me before, he got in my face with that insufferable ploy of becoming instantly and overly familiar that all street winos try and pull.

"My man! My man!" he said, laughing and high fiving and acting like we were old friends.

(Consumer tip: A good way to nip this in the bud is to say "Dude, if I was your man you'd be home sucking my dick." But I didn't deploy this option at the time.)

He, of course, asked for a hug. "Why sure!" I said, playing the gullible idiot. He wrapped his arms around me and I leaned in and whispered "If you so much as even touch my wallet I will knee you in the balls so hard you won't walk for a week."

He drew back, shocked, and his expression betrayed that it was EXACTLY what he was trying for and was stunned someone called him on his game. "Oh yeah," I said. "All the street people are doing it now; it's this year's version of 'My babies are in the stalled car down the road.' Seriously, give it up, everyone does that one."

I may have robbed a man of his livelihood.

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