Yesterday, I told you about a surreal moment I didn’t care for. This is the other side of the coin.
I’m teaching school in England. A guy I know named Gilbert gets four tickets to the London premiere of Cabaret. Gilbert has a girlfriend. He says, get a date, and we’ll “double” at the premiere. I tell Gilbert I’ll try. Getting dates is not…let’s just say I do a lot of other things better.
I don’t venture far afield. I ask another teacher. Miss McCausland. I don’t remember her first name. The students called her “Miss.”
Miss McCausland wasn’t interested in me. I wasn’t interested in her either; I was more interested in the idea of being interested in her. But none of that mattered. Miss McCausland said yes. I had a date for the premiere of Cabaret.
(I’ll leave out the play. Judy Dench as Sally Bowles, a memorable production. But this isn’t about the play.)
After the show, I ask Miss McCausland if she’d like me to accompany her home on the Underground. Miss McCausland says it’s not necessary. I say, “See you in school”, and that’s that.
I’m standing on the Underground platform. I’m alone. (There are other people on the platform, but they have nothing to do with this story.) Suddenly, stepping onto the platform across for me, also alone, is Gilbert’s girlfriend, a girl I had never met before that night. She seemed pretty cool at the theater. Spirited, funny and smart.
I give her a little wave. She gives me a little wave back. Then we stand there, waiting for our respective trains.
The situation feels awkward.
It seems like we should be doing something.
Deciding to kill time in a, hopefully, humorous manner, I mime drawing two parallel vertical lines in the air in front of me, crossing them with two parallel horizontal lines. I make an “X” in the upper right hand corner of this invisible “game board.”
Nothing happens. Oooh. Had I made an embarrassing mistake? Thankfully, no. From across the tracks, the girl mimes drawing a large “O” in the middle square of my “game board.” She wasn’t “thrown” by my actions after all. She was simply planning her strategy.
The game is now on.
Invisible “Tic Tac Toe.”
The world around us disappears as we focus intently on the game, both of us knowing precisely where those “X’s” and “O’s” are going. Our minds merge into one, enjoying a reality just the two of us can see.
We’re down to the final moves. I stymie her “O’s” with my intervening “X.” She’s about to place her “O” when her train pulls in.
The doors open. Then close. The train pulls away. The platform is empty.
I never saw that girl again.
That was a surreal moment I liked.