Meetup part 2: The Ancient Mariner

I almost forgot until I saw Anita’s post about the festivities last night. As we introduced ourselves, we talked a bit about ego surfing (Anita is the third Anita, Brent the second or third hit, Jerry the #4). I mentioned that I would always be the second Jarrett, at least as long as NASCAR remained popular and kept Dale’s site highly ranked.

At this the other lady at the table (a large table in the middle of the room with a few random onlookers still seated) stirred. Putting down her drink, she said, “I’m a big NASCAR fan. My number one is Mark Martin.” I said, “That’s great. I guess I have to root for Cousin Dale.” She asked whether I meant “Junior”; I hastened to clarify “Dale Jarrett.” At this she launched into a several minute discussion of how NASCAR wasn’t just popular, it was “grown from hard work”; how Martin was deserving because he had a family and young children; how old she was and how long she had been watching NASCAR; and other details. All at a fairly slow pace, not slurred, but relentless. Being less bold than Coleridge’s Wedding-Guest, I couldn’t stop her with a “Hold off! Unhand me, grey-beard loon!” Eventually I figured out that nodding and smiling silently while maintaining eye contact was the best way to stop the conversation. She moved off and we got on with our meetup.

Am I a sadder and a wiser man? No, but I am still subtly troubled by the conversation. Was she desperately lonely? mentally ill? or just drunk?