Thursday, May 20, 2010
Five Minute Conversations - RUBY TUESDAY
Last week I went to Ruby Tuesday’s in Ledgewood for dinner with my friends, Candace and LouAnn.
We sat at the bar for dinner and there were only a few other people at the bar. One man was watching baseball and directly across from us was a couple having drinks. I guessed they were in their late 30s or early 40s. The woman and I glanced at each other at the same time and I nodded and smiled at her. Then I turned back to the conversation we were having with each other and with the restaurant manager, who Candace and LouAnn have become friendly with. While we were waiting for our order and the three of them were talking, I decided to go outside for a cigarette. Yes, don’t ask, I still smoke.
I was only outside for a minute before the woman across from us came out as well. I greeted her with, “Hi, how are you?” She stared directly into my eyes for the longest time and then said she was miserable. She noticed my wedding ring and asked how long I’ve been married. When I told her 29 years, she said she’s been married for 18 months and she just hopes they can make it to 29 years.
Her husband had invited her to go out for a drink so they could have a “life talk”. He wouldn’t take a table so they could have privacy, and instead insisted that they sit at the bar. Interesting, because if they had taken a table, he would have been forced to look at her during their discussion, but by sitting at the bar, they were next to each other.
She told me that they live nearby and that this is a second marriage for each of them. They have no children together and she has none from her previous marriage. He, however, has five children with his former spouse including triplets. She explained that she didn’t get an engagement ring when they decided to get married since she didn’t think it was important to spend the money that way.
She was visibly shaken and said she was really afraid for her marriage. Apparently, he’s not happy even though she feels everything is fine. They both work and while money is tight because of his financial obligation to his children, they’re doing fine; or so she thought. But he wouldn’t have this discussion at home, insisting that he wanted to sit in a quiet place where they’d have no distractions.
She looked me in the eye again and told me that I had beautiful blue eyes. Maybe my blue eyes are why people talk to me so intimately despite that fact that we don't know each other and will probably never meet up again. I expressed my sympathy, wished her well and then headed back inside to my friends. She came back into the restaurant a few minutes later and I tried not to look at her while she and her husband continued their “life discussion”. But you could see that it wasn’t going very well.
I quietly explained to Candace and Lou what had happened outside and they were both shocked that I got that much information from a compete stranger in just one cigarette’s worth of time.
We continued on with our meal and I couldn’t help but think of something my friend Sue said to me once. She said that we’re each the star in our own movie. It always stuck with me because we see things from our own point of view and have different thoughts going through our heads no matter where we are or who we’re with. Perhaps the reason that people approach me this way is because I’m able to turn off my own movie and watch theirs.
The couple got up to leave and the woman looked across the bar at me, gave a small nod and tried to smile as they walked away. I could only hope that her movie turned out the way she wanted it to.