Crazy Rick came into the restaurant to see me again. We call him crazy Rick because he comes in like a sweaty, smelly tornado, always greeting me as he enters the threshold of the front door regardless of the fact that it is 40 feet from where I am standing. "ERIN! ERIN! HOW ARE YA?" And it doesn't end there. Nor does he lower his voice no matter how close the proximity. He tells me the same thing every time he comes in, "ERIN, LISTEN TO ME, ERIN. I'M 73 YEARS OLD. I PLAY TENNIS EVERYDAY, AND I'LL TELL YA SOMETHING ELSE, ERIN. ERIN! I LOVE MY DOGS. I MEAN, I'M IN LOVE WITH THEM. I'M AS STRAIGHT AS AN ARROW BUT I'M IN LOVE WITH MY DOGS. I KISS THEM AND I TALK TO THEM. I DON'T CARE ABOUT ANY OTHER HUMAN BEING BUT I LOVE MY DOGS." This part is always the same, however sometimes I will get a little bonus. One time he brought the dogs IN the restaurant, even after telling him many times he is not allowed to do that. He brought his motely crew of dogs in and shouted, "I JUST NEEDED YOU TO SEE THEM ERIN! THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL! I NEEDED YOU TO SEE!" Or, there was the time he lifted his shirt up to his chin to show me how fit he is for 73.
Today Rick didn't come in to dine. He came in and looked very somber. He wasn't even shouting (well, at first anyway.) He said, "Erin, I was driving down Ventura and I thought, 'Is this what Erin really wants? Does she really want to give up everything she has here to go to another country?' Is that what you really want?" I gotta say that it struck me! I said, "Yes, Rick, I think this is an exciting adventure, and I'll be back in a year and come return to all of these things." Rick grabbed my hand and said, "Good. I just wanted to make sure it's what you really wanted. I was driving down Ventura thinking about Erin and I had to stop by. You are a good human being. You are always nice to me and I know you are a good human being because you ask about my dogs and I know you love animals. I really hope you don't forget me when you are gone." I looked him in the eye, gave him a smile and said, "I promise I won't." He smiled and trotted out, "I GOTTA GO BACK TO MY DOGS! WE ARE GOING TO GO HAVE A BEER AND HAVE A TALK!"
Maybe Crazy Rick is starting to care about a human being after all.
That, or I remind him of a dog. I can't decide.