The following true-life encounters occured during the Santa Barbara Film Festival. The first happened a year ago; the second in ’15 or ’16. It follows that most of what happens during my annual SB visits is uneventful; we only pass along the stand-out stuff.

Story #1: I was in the checkout line at Ralph’s on Carillo. A giggly party girl and her friends were buying four huge bottles of something alcoholic. Either the booze was pale yellow or the bottles were tinted that way. Didn’t see a label or sticker.

I asked the checkout guy, “What is that stuff?”

“Bocca,” he said.

Bocca?” I repeated. I thought it might be some exotic liqueur. “Never heard of it.”

Actually I had in The French ConnectionTony Lobianco’s Brooklyn-based heroin dealer was named Sal Bocca. Roy Schieder: “Our friend’s name is Bocca. Salvatore Bocca. They call him Sal. He’s a real sweetheart.”

The girl and her pallies paid for the Bocca, and the guy packed the bottles in ordinary paper bags, which struck me as insufficient given their size and weight.

“How do you spell that?” I asked. The checkout guy ignored my request, but he looked at me sideways. “You never heard of Vocca?”

“No,” I insisted while offering a half-shrug of apology. Ping. “Oh, you mean vodka?”

“Yeah, man…vodka.”

“Oh, sorry. I misunderstood. Sorry.“

In fact, the checkout guy, who was (and undoubtedly still is) of Latin descent and spoke with a slight accent, was pronouncing his vees like bees. I learned that in Spanish class when I was 15. When you say “vamonos,” for example, the vee is pronounced as a blend of vee and bee.

Which partially explains the confusion. But vodka is pronounced “vahdkuh” and this guy was delivering too much of an “oh” sound. So just between us, it was mostly his fault. I’ve been saying the word “vodka” my entire life so don’t tell me.

Story #2: I was staying for a night (Saturday) at the Cabrillo Inn. I awoke around 6:30 am. I naturally wanted my usual cup of morning mud. There was no coffee-pot heater in the room so hot tap water would have to suffice. I turned on the faucet and waited. And waited. It didn’t happen — never even turned warm.

So I dressed and went downstairs with my day-old paper cup and my Starbucks Instant and strolled into the complimentary-breakfast room.

Some 50ish guy (a tourist from Chicago, he later explained) was standing inside and giving me the once-over. Two women were preparing things; they weren’t quite ready to serve. All I wanted was some hot water so I asked for that. In a minute or two, they said. I nodded and waited.

The Man From Windy City thought I had somehow overstepped. Chicago guy: “Why don’t you ask the hotel manager?” Me: “What’s he gonna do?” Chicago guy: “That’s what he’s here for.” Me: “What’s he gonna do, push the emergency hot-water button?” Chicago guy: “He could get an engineer to fix the pipes.” Me: “At ten minutes to seven on a Sunday morning? Yeah, that’s a possibility.”

It was obvious this guy was a couple of cards short of a full deck and not worth conversing with, especially after he said, “You’re being a dick.” For asking for some hot water? Or pointing out that his “ask the manager” idea was ridiculous?

Me: “Thank you. In your company, sir, it’s a pleasure.”

Things went downhill from there, and then we both decided to take a break and breathe easy. Then we got back into it.

Chicago guy: “Are you attending the film festival?” Me: “None of your business.” (I’m sorry but Midwestern tourists irritate me, especially when they offer unwarranted opinions and double especially when they’re wearing shorts and sandals and talking with a twang.) Chicago guy: “This is my first visit to California.” Me: “Great.” Chicago guy: “Can I take your photo?” Me: “No, you can’t take my photo.”

Then he did the old “heh-heh” chuckle thing, as if to say it’s all amusing and rolling off his back. So I imitated his chuckle and pretended to be him, accent and all: “Boy, this fella sure is a character and he sure is particular…heh-heh!”

A minute or two later he came over and tried to shake my hand. I declined. “What are you, a Christian?,” I asked. “Keep it. Convert to Satanism.” Chicago guy is 50something and this is the first time he’s ever visited the West Coast?

I should have shrugged it off and shaken his hand. He was a jerk, but also a bigger man. I was being a grump.

The breakfast room lady gave me a cup of steaming hot water. I thanked her, grabbed a breakfast roll and left.