Saturday, November 03, 2007

Random Encounters I

This afternoon I sat, plugged into my Ipod, in a chain coffee shop. Spread out in front of me books, articles, highlighters, sticky notes, pens--the usual paraphenilia of a student. There were others near me but with Morrissey crooning in my ears, I felt, blissfully, isolated. I like this feeling of being apart even in a room full of people. Living in a city it is not often that I get this kind of seperatedness. And, of course, all that I'm reading today is about bodies: the sexualized body of the child connected intimately to the watching eyes of the parent body, the grieving body lost without the body of the other. The irony was not lost on me.


Looking up for a moment, I caught two men, across the room, looking at my Foucualt book. I had heard them earlier, as I ran to the bathroom, talking about Freud. If I had been closer I might have been tempted to not plug in, and rather, listen to their conversation. I plugged myself way after returning, and promplty forgot about them. As they were leaving, one approached my table. I dutifully pulled myself out of my isolate. Smiling, he said "Tell me about this Foucualt. I've been hearing his name lately. Who is he?" And I told him about Foucualt (dead French philosopher), his projects (genelogy, archology of knowledge), and his life (gay, died of AIDS). The man thanked me and said "Sounds like something I should read. Somethign I'd like." And I agreed. The man left, and I plugged myself way but this time I didn't feel so isolated. I felt a bit of warmth at this random encounter, this body moving into my space, jerking me back into being human.

3 comments:

John B-R said...

One human moment a day minimum with someone previously unknown sounds like a recipe for healthy living ...

Ginger said...

Yes indeed. I don't have them nearly often enough.

Ernesto said...

What a great story. It's so cool when you meet people through/because of books. I think it's great people can still ask questions, instead of pretending they know everything. Institutional philosophy's greatest failure is its inability to reach more people and not just "the academics".

I remember as an undergraduate in Mexico, I saw philosophy students carrying Heidegger (and Husserl) books and I was so curious. If I asked they would give me suspicious looks and convoluted, impenetrable phrases. I had to find Heidegger (and Husserl) on my own, struggling with their words solo. It's great you were happy to reply in an easy to understand, friendly manner.

Thank you for this post.