Retrospect: people I recall, continued….

Self-tutoring about people who stand out in memory: the tutor mentions one from his past.

I met many characters at university, including my wife.

Most people at university were there to get a career. There were others, however, whose motivation was open-ended. They tended to be more memorable.

Commonly, on campus, people I didn’t know would spontaneously approach me and begin talking. I welcomed it, because I was interested in new ideas, which those who would approach me in such a way usually had.

One guy I recall with curiosity, I would encounter about once per semester, typically outside of peak hours, always out of the blue. Often I didn’t see or hear him coming. I was always on my way somewhere when he turned up.

“Hey…so are you still taking Spanish courses?” he asked each time.

“Not this semester,” I would reply every time.

Having broken the ice, he would immediately begin talking about some conspiracy he had discovered. He would mention articles in various magazines that hinted towards what he was talking about from a safe distance. Politically, he wasn’t left or right, but was big into freedom of speech and freedom of press. He didn’t like secrets.

Once or twice he mentioned evidence that someone knew his discovery. He was getting mysterious phone calls or emails telling him to “forget it.”

He would walk with me wherever I was going, and did all the talking. Yet, at some point, as if he’d met an invisible barrier, he would stop. “See you — maybe we’ll have another class together next semester,” he would salute.

If I had any class with that guy, I never knew it. Moreover, I never took a Spanish class at university. Yet, I never corrected him when he asked if I “was still taking Spanish classes.” I was more interested in letting him talk — I found him compelling.

Last I saw him might have been after I’d graduated but was at the campus for some reason. Once again: I didn’t tell him so. That might have been in fall ’95.

Our chance meetings, when they happened, seemed very natural. While it might have been ironic that he knew me as someone who took Spanish courses – which I never did – such a mistake was easy to believe. The university is a big place, after all; you meet lots of people there. I never knew his name, nor did he ask mine, so neither of us had a fixed reference for the other.

Away from the university, I started to wonder if there was more to it all than just chance. There was something other-worldly about him. I wonder if, were I to enroll there once more, I’d start encountering him again, like before.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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