Nail-biting in public is gross. Nail-biting and spitting out your chewed-up nail bits on the floor by your bar stool as you sit in front of me is even grosser. To make matters worse, this man who was "eating" his hand wasn't even a customer. He was waiting for the owner's son--who was late, as usual,--and only drinking water, lots of water. Looking at him chew and spit and slurp, I saw dollar signs going down the drain as I was sure no one would want to sit next to him for a nibble and a libation, if I actually were to have anyone sit at the bar on such an already slow night. Much to my chagrin, "chewie" took up three bar stools: one for his person, one for his backpack, and one for his coat. As I hadn't had many customers up to this point, I had ample time to focus in on the dude's slurping as he emptied his pint of H2O again and again. Alternating between hand in mouth and glass of water at his mouth, the part of me who fancies herself an armchair psychologist thought that homey had some sort of oral fixation. On his left hand he wore a thin, gold, wedding band, so, I figured, he wasn't always as bad as he seemed to me now. Or, really, his spouse was just as effed up as he was.
After about 20 minutes of listening to the uncomfortable sounds of biting and slurping that even Tony Bennet and Frank Sinatra couldn't cover up, Carlo, the owner's son, arrived and took his place next to Oral Man. There was a shuffling of papers, and a signature or two, before the "meeting" was over. Then, fortunately, both Carlo and "chewie" were gone in a flash and I was back to looking out the window, waiting for some action at the phone stand.