Encounter at Whately Diner

Let me tell you a little story about the peculiar and fantastic encounter I had tonight. Read on for the full story.

The dance was amazing, to begin with. Not as spectacular as the preceding night (Green Street takes the cake (mmm cake)), but about equivalent in wonderfulness to Friday night. I do like George Marshall’s calling, and, like Green Street, Swallowtail finished with Brenda Stubberts’. Coincidental and superb.

But to the point: ultimately, the expedition to the Whately Diner comprised merely myself and one other car, that of Leah and her two friends from Brown, John and Maddie. After driving about 30mph down 91 due to the impressive volume of snow, we arrived at the diner. I was in a splendid mood by this point because of happy convergences of successful humor, fine music, and great dance partners, so I was prepped for a good time. And a time was to be had, for sure…

We went in, sat down, made our orders, and set about to wait. I believe as our food was arriving (I got an egg & cheese bagel sandwich and a chocolate milkshake), two gentlemen entered the diner and sad down two booths away from us, in the corner. There were no other customers on our side of the diner besides them.

Let me pause and say that Leah’s friends are super cool. John does all sorts of crazy math and computer science stuff, as well as fiddle. And he juggles, a bit. He graduated the same year as Leah and I. Maddie is class of ’10 and wants to do Ethnobotany, and also studies Chinese. Good folk.

So back to the action. Before long into our eating, our neighbors interrupted us to inquire about our ages. Supposedly they had a bet (for their waffle) about whether our average age was closer to 15 or 21. Clear winner there, as the average was 21.75. The winner, a fellow by the name of Rio, was the more vocal of our two neighbors. He began lamenting in a rambling, humorous fashion how young and naive we were, and how when we reached his age of somewhere in the 30s, our hairlines would not be so straight. Yes, our hairlines. This was the recurring theme throughout nearly the entirety of our 1.75-hour conversation with this gentleman. Apparently, John and I (who both have quite impressively straight hairlines) may keep our hair for the next few years, but after that, we’ll bald like crazy. I should also note that Rio, as well as his friend, certainly appeared to have as full heads of hair as most anyone else. That point appeared to be irrelevant.

Anyway, they had just come from an expedition of their own, ranging from the top of Mt. Tom (recall the snow, though I didn’t get the impression they were skiing) to the Montague Bookmill, where they were cut off after 8 beers or so, and where they couldn’t get a waffle at midnight or thereabouts. Thus, their arrival at the Whately Diner to entertain and embarrass us. Oh, but we were up for the challenge.

One of the most exciting moments of the conversation was when Rio started asking John about what John did with himself, and John explained about the vector calculus he was teaching high school students. I believe it was John who first mentioned Stokes’ Theorem, but the wonderful part was that Rio began rattling off more math jargon than I could follow, including other sub-theorems or some such. All while being assuredly drunker than a Conn hockey player on a Thursday night. Okay, maybe not that drunk.

Rio and his friend made many more (warm-hearted) inquiries into who we were and what we were doing there, all while their waffle was waiting to arrive. And let me tell you, the service there is generally decent, but their waffle took a LONG time to arrive.

John suggested that we start talking about them loud enough for them to hear, but our pitiful attempts at matching Rio’s entertainment value fell hard and pathetic. I offered the lame suggestion that Rio looked a bit like John Belushi from Animal House, but that was stupid.

Their waffle came, and we had long finished our food, but we had had such a splendidly entertaining time, regaled by Rio’s meanderings, and even though it was nearly 2am, we were loath to leave before finding out more about them. It actually reminded me quite a bit of my encounter with this old man on a train in Italy that I had when I was abroad, but that’s another story (one that I apparently did not blog about back then, so sorry, no link for you). Being quite fond of asking questions to find out about people, I asked the usual barrage of questions and got this information:

  • Rio graduated from Harvard, his friend (whose name I sadly forget, but he didn’t talk much at all, so it’s okay) from Georgetown.
  • They live in New York City, but were up here for some quiet on the long weekend. Here instead of the Adirondacks because it’s less crowded with New Yorkers here.
  • Rio runs a startup with a few friends, a web startup called MyJambi.com. It’s a site where you can find local services based on what friends recommend. Or something. I’m skeptical as to its worth, sounds pretty dot-com-bubble-ish, but who am I to talk, turns out John himself, Leah’s friend, is on the site for Math and Fiddle tutoring. Maybe it’s big. Go Rio.

After gathering that information and saying our goodbyes to our newfound acquaintances, and putting an extra dollar on the table for our friendly but apparently annoyed waiter, we departed to travel our distances back home.

One thought on “Encounter at Whately Diner

  1. You forgot to mention how much of this conversation was carried on loudly behind our backs! Whenever we went back to our food and chitchat, Rio continued talking about our hairlines with his friend. It made conversation amongst ourselves difficult, but also extremely entertaining.

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