“We’re going to travel up the east coast with two Kiwis,” we told our friend the other night at a pub quiz, “we think it’ll be fine because they seem like good guys.” Our friend laughed in our face. “Of course it’ll be fine, but it won’t be normal! They’re Kiwi!”
If judged the entire country of New Zealand on the four Kiwis I’ve spent time with, I would have agreed. They are some weird-ass, quirky people. And today’s character is the worst of them all.
He’s almost worse than the pair of friends Erin and I met one night at the Carlton. After one of them tried to initiate a hookup with me after openly talking about his “girlfriend he’s almost married to,” the other tried to hookup with Erin, and when she refused, started to follow me home. “Yeah, I really don’t want to go home alone tonight…” he trailed off. I turned to him and shook my head. “No f***** way, mate,” I said with zero hesitation.
I thought no one would be able to beat the Kiwi best friend duo from the Carlton. Until this one. Five minutes into the conversation, I told him, “If I wasn’t me, I would have walked away a long time ago. But this is too good.” And that’s the truth. Just look at our conversation:
I was leaning against the glass windows of Happy Travels on Elizabeth Street (getting the Wi-Fi that I had logged onto over three months ago. The password is “Biggerbootyhoe” for anyone who’s trying to connect!) when he approached me, slowly and dramatically. He was a 20-something ginger with intense mutton chops, a thick mustache and black, rectangular glasses. I felt someone near me and looked up for a moment, catching his gaze. I noticed his dry-fit T-shirt with the emblem “New Zealand Football” on the left hand corner. I went back to sending voice notes to Kimberly and when I looked back up, he was still staring at me, but even closer.
I said hello as he took a huge swig of his red wine wrapped in a paper bag. I assumed he was staying at Flinders Backpackers, the centrally-located hostel next door to Happy Travels that feels more like a mega-mall than a home. He might have been just trying to connect to the free Wi-Fi, like me. I noticed he was so intoxicated he could barely stand. His eyes were barely staying open and his mental delays and weak movements suggested he was beyond repair. “I’m cool,” was the first thing he said to me. I gestured to the street and its people, replying, “Aren’t we all?” He shook his head. “No,” he said in the most straightforward I would see him our whole conversation.
I went back to listening to the voice note and saw start to spill his wine out of his droopy hand. “You better watch it,” I warned him, “You can get a $300 fine for drinking in the street. If you want to drink in the street you do it on Thursdays, when all the other backpackers are out here doing the same thing.” Unsurprising given his condition, he didn’t give a shit. “Just got out of jail 10 weeks ago for drinking on the street,” he said. He also informed me he was a former resident of Flinders Backpackers, but has since gotten kicked out.
Giving no regard for the fact that I was in the middle of a conversation with my friend Kimberly, he continued to speak over her voice notes I was trying to hear. “Kimberly would describe me as half spiritual, half rock and roll,” he slurred. When he found out that I was neither from the east or the west coast of the U.S., but from Indiana, he said, “Ah, you’re not from New York. Well I can relax now.”
Our conversation was a mixture of intermittent, oddly placed statements and his sultry stares and winks. He was offended that I said I didn’t trust him enough to go back his room with him (unclear where that room was. When I asked him if he had a place to stay he said “Don’t worry about me.”). I invited me to “dinna” close to 15 times, and left out the “r” on the end of dinner in a New York way, not a Kiwi way. “Why are you saying it like that?” I asked. “Because we’re from New York. Do you want to go to dinna, dinna, dinna, that’s drinks and dinner, that’s dinna.”
As I got more and more disinterested in our confusing conversation he got more and more direct. “Don’t fall in love with me,” he said as he squinted his eyes. I couldn’t tell if it was because of the alcohol or an attempt to be sensual. I told him I was going to head out, and as I started walking away, he asked me if I believed in the Holy Ghost. Then said that he was God and that if I read the Bible, it would give me all the answers.
“I’m from the Bible belt,” I joked, “That’s what they’ve been telling me my whole life.”
“Oh yeah?” He said, “I don’t know what they’ve told you to believe but you should believe in me.”
I shook my head and said my farewells. I was a few feet away from him when I looked back and heard him say “I’m an organ player, I’ve f***** all the girls!” as he made hip thrusting motions.
Because nothing says womanizer like a church organ player.
Featured photo: graffiti in Windsor.
This post is part of weekly series titled Character Tuesday, where every Tuesday I bring you a story about (a) unique individual(s) I’ve encountered. Like I always say, life can be good or bad, but as long as it’s entertaining, that’s all you need. This series is meant to celebrate our quirks and idiosyncrasies.