There’s a man on campus that i see pretty much every Wednesday. He is not a student here, as far as I can tell. He has an employee ID, a large ring of keys, and steel toed boots. Somewhere between 50 and 60, he is one of the oldest people on campus. His T-shirt is always rolled so that the sleeves disappear and the shirt becomes a muscle shirt, showing off once powerful arms that are starting to go to fat. Rain or shine, I have only ever seen him in these muscle T’s, shorts, the steel toed boots, white calf socks, and a baseball cap. I imagine is does maintenance or some such. But I don’t know because I never see him working.
I am fascinated by this man because every day I see him come into the library, pull the same thick reference tome off the shelf, and begin to read. I want to know what the book is, but the closest I can come is that he grabs it from the symbolic logic section. Nearly every day, he reads diligently for 10 or 15 minutes, flipping back and forth in the book. Then, he sets it aside and stares out the window, seemingly absorbing the information. At some point, he returns to the book, absorbing more information. After 45 minutes or so- about the time of a reasonable lunch break- he returns to book to the general area he got it from and takes the stairs down and back to the rest of campus.
I will see him again on Tuesday. Maybe I’ll get up the nerve to ask him what he’s reading.