|pic by Seventh Continent|
A woman of a certain age (well my age really) intercepted me as I joined the cloakroom queue after Marcus de Sautoy's maths lecture in the RGS. She smiled at me and, uncertain what do in this unexpected situation, I smiled back.
"Did you enjoy the talk?", she asked me, being careful to let me see her pretextual cloakroom ticket.
"I think he's very good", she continued before I had time to answer, "I liked what he said about the Goldbach conjecture"
A woman interested in the Goldbach conjecture! Score 5 points.
"I did like his talk", I said, "it was very well constructed, and the 'sleight of hand' he admitted to was actually quite fun"
"Oh, I didn't even notice that!", she laughed
A woman pretending to be less intelligent than she is. Score -5
She smiled again and we retrieved our coats, and went our separate ways.
A woman of a certain age (well, my age really) intercepted me in the queue to record finish times at the Bushy Park Run.
"Would, you mind? could I ask you to help..I..."
She turned round and showed me the problem: the inner pocket of her lycra shorts was tangled and she couldn't get at the contents. Somewhat gingerly I fished inside and freed the car key I could see poking out.
"Thanks" she said, "but it's my registration card I need - that's stuck in there as well."
Never let it be said that Alibert Botogol fails to rise to an occasion: I tried again with more vigour, but the little bit of crumpled plastic was somehow bound tight with lycra and surprisingly hard to extract
"How deep should I delve?" I asked, after a moment
"You're doing fine", she said and I tussled some more; eventually I freed the damn thing and handed it to her.
She smiled and thanked me
"Have you ever heard of the Goldbach Conjecture?", I asked?