Monday, October 23, 2006

A very few words

One of the faculty members I've worked with for the last four years passed away over the weekend. I wasn't exactly shocked when I got the news this morning, but there is still that odd surprise, thinking that he's actually gone and will not ever again be strolling in with his cloud of cigarette smoke and his styrofoam coffee cup in hand.

I didn't know him well. I liked some things about him very much -his laid-back attitude, his wit, his wonderful skill with language. I disliked other things. I think if we'd ever actually talked as equals we would have disagreed more than agreed about many things. But we didn't talk as equals. He was "senior faculty," and I am a secretary.

But the thing about this guy is, with just a very few words one day, he made a positive impact on my life. I was walking down the hall, and he was in a doorway with his cloud of smoke and his styrofoam coffee, and as I passed him he said, "When are you getting to work on your Master's?"

I was astonished. I can't imagine why he would have thought about me at all. I have no idea what I said in response. But I got back to my office and I sat down and I started thinking, could I maybe actually do that?

Sometimes I wonder if he was just trying to stir up trouble. Sometimes I feel like I'm less and less popular with the "senior faculty" the further I get in my studies, like I wasn't really supposed to do this and am crossing some kind of boundary we secretaries weren't supposed to cross. Have I been stepping on his toes, I wonder?

Did he ever realize, I wonder, that he put the idea in my head?

I'll never know. But I'll thank him as I say my good bye, and I'll thank him again when I graduate. And I'll remember him with fondness.

Have a good forevernevermore, Dr. Adams. You will be missed.

1 comment:

jason evans said...

What an Earthy and geniune tribute. I get the sense he would appreciate it. Being the person he was.