How I Met Your Mother.

Fifty-three years ago today, 6 October started off as just another Tuesday. The last thing I felt like doing on a week-day evening after a hard day’s teaching in a north London school was going out and meeting a random group of people I didn’t know.

“Come on, it’ll be fun,” said my colleague, “there’ll be some interesting people.” He had a wide, eclectic range of friends and acquaintances picked up during his extensive travels and his holiday job as a ski instructor in Scotland.

“Oh, all right, I be there,” I said, not knowing that it would turn out to be one of those ‘sliding doors’ moments.

After work, I headed into town and managed to find a parking spot near the rendezvous at Notting Hill Gate Tube station. Waiting on the platform, I was none-too-subtly checking out an attractive, classy and trendily-dressed woman standing near-by.

Just then my teaching buddy arrived and as I walked up to him, so did she. She was part of the get-together that he had arranged.

We headed off up the Portobello Road where we met the rest of the group in Shannon’s, a pub long since gone.

During a lull in my conversation with another teacher, I heard someone talking about Tolkien and ‘Lord of the Rings’. I’d clocked this guy earlier, some sort of smooth-talking salesman from Manchester, a few years older than most of the group, on the pull but obviously married – you could see the pale band of skin where he’d taken off his ring. He was chatting up the woman I’d first seen at the Tube station.

Now this was 1970; hardly anyone outside of academia, the Eng. Lit. scene and a small bunch of aficionados had even heard of ‘Lord of the Rings’, let alone read it. It was 30 years before Peter Jackson’s film trilogy would introduce it to a wider audience. I had studied it at university alongside Anglo-Saxon in the School of English that Prof Tolkien had established before he moved to Oxford. I was now on my 10th or 11th reading.

The salesman was trying to impress as part of his chat-up routine. I could stand by no longer, especially as he was getting some things wrong. So, jumping on my metaphorical white horse, I rode into the fray wielding sword of knowledge and shield of rhetoric and saved the fair lady from the evil intentions of the Northern lordling.

We got chatting, had a couple of drinks and I offered her a lift home. As I dropped her off at her place, I said, bluntly and completely out-of-character, “Do you want a date?”
Surprising both of us, she said yes.

And that, kids, is how I met your mother.

This entry was posted in Ian's Posts. Bookmark the permalink.