Monday, February 11, 2008

The ballad of Gene

Who knew that the University quadrangle was the best place to score beer?

The following is the strange but true account of a fellow student--we'll call him "Gene." The first time I saw Gene was in the cafeteria. He was sitting alone, talking to himself, apparently pissed as hell over some tricky reading he was facing in a text book. I thought it odd, but paid little attention beyond that.

My next and most recent interaction with Gene was when I found him standing on the balcony of our dorm, looking out over the quad and proclaiming rather vociferously, "Oh man! What I wouldn't give for a Newcastle!"

My friend Chris and I had just walked up and, luckily for Gene, we are the kind of fellows who are willing to help a brother out.

Gene doesn't have a car with him, so we offered him a ride. We hopped in the car, and in keeping with my recent vow, I struck up a conversation with him.

Gene ended up at our school because he was looking for an associate's degree in construction management.

One of the things that triggers conversation for Gene is San Diego, his hometown.

Mistakenly, I told him that the newspaper staff would be traveling to San Diego (apparently we're actually going to San Francisco) and asked him about sites I should visit.

"Oh man, you've gotta go to Pacific Beach. It's, like, the best beach, man."

He went on to describe the setting: trendy shop after shop and sexy, scantily clad women everywhere.

He told me a story about how he once went to some cliffs where people often hang glide and hiked down to a hidden bench. There, he said he encountered a gorgeous woman who was using a mirror to become better acquainted with herself.

Apparently, San Diego is a wondrous place.

Gene has a funky style. It's an intriguing cross between formal and punk wear. The other day he showed up to dinner wearing a bandanna (which is usually accompanied by a colorful hard hat), a suit coat over a t-shirt, slacks and skater shoes.

So, I'm doing well on the interaction part, but I should have tried for a photo. Next time.

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