The physicist sitting across from me is not satisfied with his beverage.
“This doesn’t taste like cask ale,” he tells our waiter. “You sure you gave me the right one?”
“Oh, you know that menu is really old. I think maybe they might have changed it. But I’m pretty sure what you had was the cask. I, uh, I could double-check.”
“You got any pale ale on draft that’s local? I’ll just have a glass of that.”
“Sure. I can, um, get you that. Sure thing.”
After the waiter leaves, the physicist points to my empty bottle of Chimay. “On the menu, that’s listed under ‘draft,’” he says.
“Yeah, you’re right.”
He shakes his head at the mistake. “Typical.”
I last saw Professor Okie about a year ago, in Harvard Square. These days he does much of his scientific journal reading at the local bars, where he often runs into his students. (But I assure you he does not drink with them.) Okie and I were once both enrolled in the same undergraduate process optimization class; in some ways we are still recovering from it…
Tonight he’s returning from an exam in UWS (“She passed”), thus the brown corduroy blazer. He wears it well.
I give him my latest injury report — almost as a cautionary tale, seeing as we are the same age and we play the same sport. (He is one of those reliable, solid-fundamentals type of players. I am the streaky, inconsistent, no-strategy-whatsoever player.)
“Do you think the bone tissue could have been damaged by the ice?” he asks me.
“Orthopedist doesn’t think so. But who knows.”
“Knee fracture. Geez…”
The waiter returns with a glass of Brooklyn IPA and a bottle of Allagash and then flees.
“Cheers,” says the Okie.
To longevity, I think to myself — although I’m not sure that’s what we want the most right now.