Let the Chips Fall Where They May

Here’s one to remember from the Misunderstood Conversations Department…I was having lunch with my friend Mike yesterday and having a casual conversation about poker and talking generally about an upcoming poker night which we are both attending.

You see, though I’ve been a poker player all my life, in the past couple of years I’ve become quite a big fan of the game, and have invested rather heavily in it as more of a hobby than simply a card game. I bought high-quality poker chips (actually got mine before the mad Poker-Chip-Frenzy took hold and you could buy them at Wal*Mart), chip racks, and have built a real-life poker tabletop with padded green felt, a padded vinyl rail, cupholders & all.

So discussing poker wasn’t out of the ordinary to Mike and me.

But in one of the oddities of human interaction that we’ve all experienced but never seem to talk about, the conversation had drifted. There was a lull in discussion and we had touched on a few other topics as tangents, but my mind had begun to drift off to another subject, but it would seem Mike was still pondering poker. More specifically, he was wondering if I had received the black poker chips which I had recently ordered and was expecting to arrive via mail any day now.

I think we’ve all been there. A comment seems to come out of left field, but only because your mind has drifted on several topics past your conversation partner. So what he says next seems out of context, but only until you remember a previous thread. That’s the oddity, and that’s what I was about to walk into.

So I’d just finished a bite of my Original Burger when Mike turns to me inquistively and asks, “So, did the mail bring those black chips yet?

Or at least that’s what I believe he said now that I’ve had time to process the event. But that’s absolutely not what I heard him say as I was taking a sip of Diet Coke.

I gave Mike what I’m sure was a shocked & puzzled look as I rewinded his question in my mind, turned it over & over again and tried to make sense of it. I knew what I thought he said, but was certain I must be wrong. I took another drink and sloshed it around in my mouth for an extra moment, trying to buy some time to process what I had heard.

I mean, we work together and have lunch together most days of the week; hell, we even get together every few weekends and play poker over some beers, but I really didn’t think our friendship was at that level where he would ask me what I thought he had asked me. And it had nothing to do with poker chips.

Finally, resigned that what I heard was what he said, I started to mutter a befuddled, “Excuse me?” But somewhere between “Excuse” and “me” my brain finally sparked a neuron and I connected his question with our earlier topic of poker and it all made sense.

“No,” I said, relieved. “I haven’t received them in the mail yet, but I expect them to arrive today.”

There was an awkward silence and I think maybe Mike could sense that I had just come back from the brink somehow. I then smiled at the absurdity of it all, explained to him what I had thought he asked, and we had a good laugh.

And that’s the end of the story.

Oh, and in answer to the question I thought you asked me, Mike… No, I haven’t nailed any black chicks yet.

At least, not today.

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