On Tuesday, I was in Orlando for a meeting, so Bill and I met up afterwards for dinner. We sat outside the restaurant under the overhang, where we were sheltered from the pouring rain. Shortly after we had placed our drink order, a scruffy man in his 60s came up to our table and started chatting with us.
“Hey, I’m Bob. And you’re…Bill,” them man said. Bill and I looked at each other and then back at the man laughing and telling him that actually, he was right. We started to engage in conversation with the man, but it soon became clear that he was drunk and/or on something. He stood by our table and rambled about a house boat up in Geneva and how he really liked people. Bill and I tried to be polite as he stood there talking, but after about ten minutes of his chatter, he became bothersome. He asked if he could join us, and Bill explained that we were on a date and don’t get much time to spend together, hinting that he was intruding on our dinner and not welcome. The man told us he’d be leaving any minute, as soon as the rain slowed. But, he kept talking. And talking. And talking. When the waiter came to take our order, he ordered himself a beer. I wondered if he expected us to pay for it. Again he kept talking about the house boat, reminded us he had eaten a salad here already, he asked our names again, and said how he really liked talking to people (that was crystal clear, thank you.) We responded to his comments as shortly as possible, and told him that maybe he should go talk to some other people. But, he didn’t leave. I was getting angry that he was infringing on the limited time I had with Bill. He wasn’t taking any of our social cues that he should move on; he just kept hovering at our table.
Finally, our waiter came with the food. The man started to say something about a beer, and I took that to mean he was ordering another, so I snapped. I sternly told the waiter “No, he does not need another beer.” The man defensively said that he was paying for his beer, and out of the corner of my eye I did notice he had pulled out a wallet. But I had reached my tipping point. I angrily told the man that he was being rude and interrupting my dinner and my time with my boyfriend. I told him that he needed to leave now.
I kind of shocked myself with my reaction, but I was fed up. He spent probably 30 minutes at our table, which well beyond his welcome. He didn’t have anything interesting to say to us, and in fact he was pretty creepy. I think he hovered so long because he wanted a ride somewhere. After the man left, I jokingly said to Bill, “See I can get mad,” since that was the first time he had ever seen me angry.
Now, I believe that I’m a pretty compassionate person, and maybe if the situation had presented itself differently, we would have welcomed him to our table and paid for his beer. But I found him to just be an annoying, old, drunk. He pushed my buttons, to the point where I spoke up and told him to scram. Bill and I talked about it after and decided that we probably should have said something very direct earlier on in the conversation. However, we’d have to walk the thin line of being confrontational and just communicating that we wanted to eat dinner in peace. We ended our less than ordinary dinner with some fried ice cream. That makes everything better, right?
So tell me bloggies, how would you have responded in this situation?