Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fun with thumb rings and drunk people

Some of my favorite people watching occurs in that window of time after I’ve walked into a bar but before I’ve had anything to drink. There’s something fascinating about being the only sober person in a room filled with tipsily cheerful strangers all steadfastly convinced I’m their very best friend.

Sunday afternoon, I meandered into a small bar at the base of a ski hill. Not only was I the only sober person, but also the only one dressed in street clothes. I’m not a skier, but was compelled by my day job to write about the resort’s new umbrella bar.

Before I’d even ordered a drink, the woman beside me leaned over and grabbed my hand.

“You’re wearing a thumb ring!” she shouted.

I actually wear three thumb rings, but decided it was easiest to agree with her.

“I wear a thumb ring, too,” she declared, then pointed at the bleary-eyed gentleman sitting beside her. “He always wants to know about the significance of a thumb ring. He thinks it’s a symbol or a code or something. I always tell him it doesn’t mean anything. Am I right?”

She slugged me in the shoulder, making me grateful I hadn’t yet gotten my drink.

“Actually,” I told her, “Mine does have some significance. I started wearing a thumb ring when I was maybe 10 and my kid brother bought me a ring at a garage sale. My thumb was the only finger it fit on, so I got used to having a ring there. It’s partly a sentimental thing, and partly that I’ve been doing it for so long I feel naked without one.”

Her eyes flickered a little at the word naked, but beyond that, I could tell I’d lost her.

Across the table, her gentleman friend frowned. “So you’re not going to tell us the real story?”

I felt bad for disappointing him. Like maybe I should have made up a secret thumb ring society, or explained the usefulness of the jewelry in giving hand jobs.

Finally, I leaned forward and lowered my voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you.”

He nodded gravely, and the woman nodded along with him. “I figured.”

I’m still thinking I should have come up with a better story. Got one? Please share, it might come in handy someday! I’d also love to hear about your significant jewelry or favorite conversations with drunk people.


Sarah W said...

Well . . .

It's so you don't break your thumb during Fight Club.


It's so you can do those fancy slides on your blues guitar when BB. King needs a stand in for a gig in Memphis.

Matthew MacNish said...

A guy trying to pick up on a woman in a bar is almost certainly going to want something like this to symbolize something sexual, like your relatively tame hand job example. I would give some others, but that would reveal too much.

Patrick Alan said...

*looks at Tawna bikini ski screensaver*

Not a skier, you say?

What are you doing here?



Sarah, oooh, I like this! I'm totally using the fight club thing next time.

Matthew, for the record, it's more of a hindrance than a help in those situations. I'm right-handed, and the thumb rings are on the right :)

Patrick, LOL, I wondered if anyone would remember that. Someone just asked me on Sunday if I'm a skier. My response: "I've skied five times in my life, and two of those times were for bikini contests." I should note that the person I was speaking to was my gentleman friend's ex-wife. Was that inappropriate?

Nate Wilson said...

Please. They're not thumb rings; they're thumb wrestling championship belts.

Patrick Alan said...

I am not the person to ever ask appropriateness, but I believe the proper response should have been "Why did you wear the bikini skiing the other 3 times?"

Is that what she asked?

Anonymous said...

You could have just leaned over to the guy and whispered, "for the same reason guys wear - ehem - certain rings." Then point at his man sausage and raise your eyebrows.


It would have made drunk guy think for a moment and then turn red as a cherry!