22 March 2010

Orderly queues, human encounters and women of a certain age

Two weeks ago
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?


M4GD said...

Firstly, “A woman of a certain age (well my age really)” And what is exactly your age Mr. Botogol? And how can you be sure both of them are your age? Were you wearing your old man glasses and focused on the ‘smiles’? Ever thought may be they had various Botox parties and both of them actually are way older than you!! And the encounters can be filed under ‘Mrs Jones moments’ ;-) (side comment: it still puzzles me why women easily entertain the idea of and embark on injecting poison in their skin. I’m for ‘AWGC’ (here it means: Ageing with Grace Campaign not Goldbach Conjecture) or wait may be this is it: Maths is the secret to eternal beauty!)

Secondly, why were you surprised re lady in encounter one knowledge of ‘Goldbach Conjecture’ when there was a high probability she would be by her mere attendance of the specialized maths talk?

Thirdly, for those of us who do not know ‘Goldbach Conjecture’ Why scores of 5 at a time? What is the importance of 5 (apart from high five:-) !)

Fourthly, ”Once you have internalized the concept that you can not prove anything in absolute terms, life becomes all the more about odds, chances, and trade offs. In a world without provable truths, the only way to refine the probabilities that remain is through greater knowledge and understanding.” by Robert E. Rubin from his book ‘In an uncertain world: Tough choices from Wall Street to Washington’

Summary conclusion: okay hate to break the news, Sit on the chaise longue : ‘You are experiencing a quasi resurrection of ‘brain in a vat’ phenomenon!’
Keep us posted as it develops to a full fledged resurrection by the end of 2010;-)

Botogol said...

Hello M4GD,
- old enough to know better, young enough to care
- pleased more than suprised :-)
- five just seemed about right
- ummmmmm..