Thursday, June 20, 2013

student workers: the sequel

Yesterday was a giant pot of weirdness for the student worker antics.
Instead of wacky one-liners or casually short conversations, they ended up talking about "bouldering" and the definition of "shallow" for hours. I tuned in and out (I think I may have even passed out at one point) and so I've had to chisel it all down to my favorite excerpts. There's just no time, no capacity, to record it all.

(If you missed part 1 of "student workers", check it out here).

Before the giant topics of Bouldering and Shallow came up, Charles was on a roll. He talked for most of the morning, and at certain times I feared for the lack of oxygen going to his brain when he wouldn't take any breaks to breathe and/or let us recover.
I'm not sure if Boppity was having a bad day or was just "taking a brain vacation" (to be explained later) but she didn't have as much to say.
She didn't even come in to join the fray until we had had our fill of alone time with Charles.

Matthew: "How's your day?"
Charles: "Pretty good, I took a nap on a bench outside for an hour...well, like 10 minutes."
Matthew: "Oh. Nice."
Charles: "Yeah, I wasn't really planning on it. It was a really hard bench."

I think he felt comfortable with us at this point, because he began to really bond with Matthew and felt totally at home going closer than even I'd go, into his personal working space. Which is a very sacred thing.

Charles [randomly pausing, jumping up, and walking over to Matthew's desk, picking up a stack of paper): "Is this recyc...recycle...recyc...[30 seconds later] can you help me?"
Matthew: "Recyclable?"
Charles: ", that doesn't sound right. Say it again."
Matthew: "Recyclable."
Charles: "Wow, what a word!"

Around lunchtime, still before Boppity joined us:

Charles: "Did someone eat Chinese food for lunch?"
Matthew & I, exchanging glances (neither of us had eaten Chinese food): "........."
Charles: "I had a waft of some kind of soy sauce. Or it's my imagination."
Matthew: "It's your imagination, although...I have some ground beef and some peppers..."
Charles goes over and sticks his face in the tupperware, taking a giant whiff.
Charles: "Ah, yeah, must be the peppers."

Charles, about 2 hours later, leaning in closely to Boppity: "I this room."

What's funny is that on some days, not a word is spoken. On others, a goldmine of nonsense.

Later on, Charles once again wanders too closely to Matthew's desk:

Charles: "What kind of hot sauce is that?"
Matthew: "Tabasco."
Boppity: "Ah, ah-ha, that's too hot."
Matthew: "No, it's not too bad."
Charles: "I think Tabasco is mild, to be honest."
Matthew: "You should try Melinda's, you'd probably like it."
Charles: "Oh, does that have a--a wooden, a wooden like, top? A wooden top?
Matthew: "No, that's Tapatio."
Charles, nodding, his eyes narrowing, with a strange smirk: "Ah, so you're a hot sauce fan."

A while later, Matthew was over by the packing area (we pack and ship a lot of books) and as he turned to go back to his desk, Charles was standing right behind him.

Charles: "Do you eat a lot of nuts?"
Matthew (pausing, staring, walking around him): "Sure, sometimes. They're good."
Charles: "Me too. I like nuts. I've seen them on your desk."
Matthew: "Oh? Well...yeah, I've had them before."
Charles: "Yeah I've seen at least two jars. You had a trail mix at one point. Planters, maybe? At least one jar of peanuts, probably a week ago."
Matthew, at a loss: "...could be, could be."

These last bits are what I like to call the Bouldering Excerpts.
I'm unsure how and why Charles is so observant of Matthew, but I suppose that will remain to be seen. It all started with...

Charles: "Do you boulder at all?"
Matthew: "Boulder?"
Charles, walking over to him: "Boulder, like climb, a lil' bit?"
Matthew, somehow understanding, and looking back at a pair of climbing shoes behind his desk: " They're my wife's ...I've been trying to sell them for a while, I kind of forgot they were there."
Charles: "What size are they?"
Matthew: "Well they're women's..."
Charles: "Yes, but what size? I've been meaning to perhaps purchase a pair...can I just see them? [he grabs them and puts them against the soles of his feet for comparison] Oohh, yeah right. My friends, I've tried some shoes from them that I could sort of walk in, they're like two sizes smaller."
Me: "You've tried on your friend's women's shoes?"
Charles: "Heh, heh, heh, no, they were climbing shoes. So, can I possibly just try and stick my foot in here?"
Matthew: "[raised eyebrow]"
Charles: "Because...if I can walk in them, then I might possibly get them off of you, if I...well...let me try them on first...
"Well this feels fairly normal, actually...although I don't know how much I could take of this. Ouch. I think my right foot may be larger than my left foot. I think the left one could maybe stand this in about 3 minute increments...
"[three minutes later, triumphantly] Well they definitely would work in a pinch!"

Matthew: "So when would be the next time you have the opportunity to climb?"
Charles: "Well, I would basically just use it for the climbing wall...I think it's closed during the summer but I think I'd just keep doing it and getting kicked out throughout the summer. Heh, heh, heh."
Matthew: "Thats...a good strategy..."
Charles: "I've never been that into it but my friends are definitely great boulderers."
Boppity: "You know, climbing can be really hard, it's a good workout."
Charles: "Well, I'm actually in good shape. I would say very, very good shape."

One rabbit hole later...

Charles: "I actually got into Chess for a while."
Matthew: "Chess?"
Charles: "Yeah, but...I actually felt like I was getting into a Chess cult. So I just ripped up all my books on Chess and didn't ever let myself get seriously into it."

Matthew, trying to participate in the bouldering conversation (which if I was a mind-reader, I would have told him that was a really bad idea)...

Matthew: "Did you ever hear about that one free climber--"
Charles, perking up: "The Indian?"
Matthew, startled: ", I don't think so."
Charles: "Yes, it is. He's native american. He died."
Matthew: ""
Charles: "Different guy?"
Matthew: "Yes."
Charles: "Hm. Don't know him."

Stay tuned for more Student Worker excerpts, coming to a blog near you.
I think I'll go take a nap on a really hard bench. 

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