"I'm reading The Iliad for the second time," he said proudly. His tone seemed to imply wonder on my behalf. Except for one little glitch . . .
In elementary school the students would receive the state-issue reader, which usually had a Greek myth tucked in somewhere that I would read on the sly, hidden from my teachers, since Hellenism and Judaism have long been historic enemies. But I figured it could be no worse than any other fairy tale, and I found them fascinating as well as morally instructive.
My parents were quite entertained whenever I could pull a polysyllabic name out of the air, and encouraged this fixation. On a family trip they purchased The Odyssey for me at a used-book store. I was ten or so, and slogged through; I eventually re-tackled the Homeric classics at an older age, when a college class helpfully broke it down.
Meaning, I was excited to have stumbled upon a mutually interesting topic with a date! He's re-reading it, right, so we can go into detail!
"I love Homer! Doesn't that scene kill you, when Priam goes to Achilles to beg for the return of Hector's body?"
He nodded politely.
"I also find the Greek perception of prophecy as compared to the Jewish to be so odd, y'know?"
I enthusiastically continued with my hypothesis, and being a little on the dim side it took me a while to realize he wasn't jumping eagerly into this discourse, which was obviously one-sided. There was also a touch of panic in his eyes.
"Then when Agamemnon and Cassandra . . ." I slowly braked to a halt. Relief crept into his irises.
Oh, I see.
That's why I don't claim to be knowledgeable about anything that I'm not on a date, unless it has been already been definitively proved he doesn't know it, either.
Well, this awkward moment could have been completely avoided.