Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dear guy who spoke directly to me while walking past:

You were walking in from the parking lot. I was walking toward the building where I would teach my class.You looked right at me and said something. Because you were looking right at me, I thought you were speaking to me.

I thought, "I don't know you. Do I?" And then I thought and thought about whether I did, in fact, know you. And concluded, no, no, I did not know you. And then I realized you were talking on your cell phone, with a headset, a headset that I could not see.

It might have been this that you said: "That is not a flattering outfit." Or "Aren't you going to be late to class?" or "You are not making the most of your talents and gifts." You didn't actually say any of these things. You said something I can't remember now--nothing personal, but whatever it was, it was direct, it was specific enough. And you were looking right at me. I cannot emphasize this enough: right at me.

On the one hand, you startled me out of my fervid little plan-walk.  That's not necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, it disturbed me that you seemed to speak right to me. Who were you, and who might I be, if you knew me well enough to speak to me, interrupt my planning on the way to class, where I was to talk about clarity of form?

The form of your utterance, you looking directly at me while speaking to someone else, did not have clarity to recommend it. In the future, please take your phone out of your pocket and hold it up to your ear, like people do.

Writing a letter expressly for you from the olden days, evidently,



  1. If you were Steve Martin or Woody Allen, they'd publish this is the Shouts & Murmurs section.

  2. @Condiment, you made my day.

  3. Years ago, a similar occurrence while crossing the main library plaza in the early dawning hours. The man clearly said, "Dammit, I LOVE you!" Made my heart flutter for a moment, and then I saw the headset...



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