Intrepid Optimist is the place where I can share my stories; fact, fiction and thoughts from the past and present. It’s Written by myself for people who believe adventure knows no age
Have you ever had one of those one sided conversations when you don’t really understand what the other person is talking about?
The other evening I was standing at the bar – they’re the only places where I stand without complaining – and I entered into a conversation with a pleasant youngish man in his middle twenties.
In all honesty I wasn’t saying much, my new friend being content to do the talking, happily prattled on about all and sundry. It was after he more than once mentioned the Middle Earth, while looking questioningly at me, that I took as a cue to join in the chat.
My problem was that I could not put this Middle Earth thing into context. I’d heard of the Middle East, of George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Middle of the Road and even the Middle Finger and its offensive gesture but I was out of the picture on Middle Earth.
In an effort not to expose my ignorance to a stranger, I just listened, nodding my head when I believed it necessary and as the words earth and ocean were mentioned a few times, I concluded he was talking about some agricultural project.
I’m unsure how long the conversation continued in this form before he held up his knuckle of his right hand to show me a large, dull grey metal ring, I self-consciously nodded my approval and seeing a gap where I thought a jewel should be, asked what had happened to it? He stared hard at me and said that its gem-stone had been lost in the ocean. He didn’t explain which ocean and I thought better not to ask. In general I’m not lover of male jewellery but I sympathized with his loss.
My sham show of interest encouraged him to remove a heavy gold ring from his left hand, middle finger, which he gave me to inspect with the strange remark that this was the one ring. I couldn’t read the inscription written on its inner side due to the poor lighting in the bar but I returned it questioning him as to how long he’d been married.
He didn’t answer but looked askance at me and explained in all seriousness that this ring made him invisible to girls. It was then I decided to leave and I would have done so if it hadn’t been for Georgina, a kindred spirit who had been standing next to us at the bar, ear-wagging our banter.
“Oh may Gaawd.” She shrieked at him, leaping between the two of us, “You’re a Tolkien fan.”