A new regular, courtesy of the hotsprings who have apparently barred him. Smaller, slighter of build, tanned, maybe 70 years old, shirt optional, long beard occasionally held in an elastic, a long fringe of hair around a bald pate, anywhere but here he'd stick out like a sore thumb. Here he just sort of blends in...

The first time, a beer, some appetizer, he's telling me he was just at the hotsprings, 7 hours in the pools, he's exhausted.

"7 hours?" I ask incredulously, 7 hours, that's a lot of time to be soaking in a hotpool, I've rarely done more than an hour, 2 tops, but he takes my comment to heart and gets aggressive- "Don't tell me about the hotsprings - I go 4, 500 times a year..."

I'm mentally doing the math, this - well, it's not quite impossible but it's absurd, excessive in the extreme...

He continues in that vein, I stop hearing him.

The next time, sitting, having a Jamesons' on the rocks, a song comes on, it moves him to tears. We've got a playlist, "Oldies", the owner created it, no song written after 1975 ever plays, I stopped hearing it a long, long time ago, but something on it has touched him, he comes up and pays for his $8.00 drink with $4.00 in quarters, tells me how special that moment was, I offer to try and replay the song for him but he looks at me horrified, there's no way I could ever replay that, ever....

I shrug off the missing $4.00, cover the difference, out here, this isn't a rare thing...

The next time I see him, the same again. He sits on the patio, no shirt, no shoes, there should be no service but we're in the Kootenays after all. It's a windy day, I go out to drop him off a menu, he's put a small package on the table, I move it to hold down the menu, keep it from blowing away, he moves it off the menu and tells me tersely - "Don't touch my stuff".

He's an asshole, but it's my job after all...

He orders a Stella, the beer of choice for European trash and soccer hooligans. And pretentious hippies. And bringing it out to him, through the windows of the restaurant I see him fling the menu off the table, it hits the balcony and bounces to the floor. When I deliver the beer and pick up the menu he explains coyly "The wind must have blown it away...".

Come time to pay and he's inside in a frenzy, Did I hear the shots fired? 7 of them! Across the lake! Of course I heard nothing, do I know why? Because I was inside!! There must be a bear! And depending if it ran uphill or downhill it'll be on his property!! And he pays, and, again, he's a dollar short, but I shut up. 

I'm tired of paying to serve assholes, he's the classic bad hippy, the one acid trip too many, never came back, his moral elevation, it's failing, there's nothing for him to stand on, he's just an asshole and now he's barred from our restaurant as well, I'm only waiting to tell him in the no-uncertain terms that he's not coming back...I'm a man of infinite patience, but when it expires...