BeowulfGirl

The adventures of a New Jersey college professor with very strange friends, colleagues, and family members.

Monday, November 20, 2006

[2x (4xy - 2x) + (6n + 7xy)]

I'm fascinated with a guy at work.

He's in the Math department, which is weird right there...usually I stay away from the math professors like the plague because they always smell of chalk and get all excited about things like quadratic equations and trapezoids. But this guy...he just transcends all that and ends up being ultimately cool.

His name isn't Kyle, but I'm going to call him that anyway, in case he ever reads this (because believe me, he's smart enough to hack in).

As a college professor, I work with many, many smart people. However, in my career I have only worked with a handful of authentic geniuses. Kyle is one of them.

Kyle is 24, graduated from high school when he was 14, and has two Ph.D.s (math and physics). He also has all of his course work completed for a third doctorate in Comparative Religion. This means he managed to cram nine years worth of graduate school into three, which would have made me start screaming and never stop. He has photographic memory, can speed read, and (and to me, this is his most useful skill) can balance his checkbook (and mine) in his head.

The most fascinating thing about him, though, is the way he dresses. He has no problems wearing a pinstriped suit with a paisley dress shirt and bolo tie. He also owns white disco pants, several pairs of bell-bottoms, and a full-fledged zoot suit that makes him look like Johnny Dangerously.

I first Kyle at the Faculty Mixer in the beginning of the year, where we all meet the new faculty and try to make them feel welcome. I felt a weird attraction to Kyle from the start (he's terribly good-looking, but he'd never admit that) and when he started doing differential equations on the cocktail napkins, I was hooked.

I knew I was going to like him tremendously the first time he showed up at my office and was able to read the sign that I have on my door, which is the words to the entrance of Dante's Inferno--in Latin. When I asked him why a math professor would study Latin, he just blinked at me as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

The first thing I did was invite him to our monthly karaoke night, which is really the brainchild of my friend Glenn, who's in the Business department. Kyle claimed to have never done karaoke before, but agreed to go. He wore tan slacks, tennis shoes, a blue sweater-vest and a white tie. Although he didn't sing, he seemed very amused by the rest of us.

He's very quiet (I assume he's always thinking), but after our karaoke night he started opening up a little more to me. I took him out for lunch one day, which caused no end of gossip and giggling in my department, but for some reason, Kyle seemed to find it completely normal.

Several weeks ago, I was sitting in my office when suddenly I heard "Catch!" from the doorway. I looked up just in time to see Kyle lobbing something at me from the door. It kind of looked like a volleyball.

Once I examined it, I saw that it actually looked like a gigantic twelve-sided die that you would use in Dungeons and Dragons. On each side was drawn a face with a different expression. I had no idea what it was.

"I'm not sure what this is," I confessed to Kyle.

"It's a mood dodecahedron," he said, happily.

"Sorry?" I said.

"A dodecahedron," he explained, "is a twelve-sided geometrical shape. I put a different face on each side, so whatever mood you're in, just point that side toward the door."

I thought this was delightful. Most of the time I keep it set to "happy," but I also often use "sleepy" and "hungry." Sometimes I set it to "confused," especially when grading my remedial students' papers.

To thank him for this interesting (albeit bizarre) gift, I made him a music mix, which excited him so much that he proceeded to send me an e-mail after listening to each track, telling me what he thought of it. Neither of us got any work done for about eighty minutes.

Last month, he bought me a hardcover copy of the latest biography of Jack Kerouac, my favorite American writer. He even inscribed it...in Latin.

We keep talking. I keep flirting. He keeps not running away.

We'll see what happens next karaoke night.

Next time: Something serious. Seriously.

3 Comments:

  • At 6:05 PM, Blogger lostdwarf said…

    BeowulfGirl, he sounds so cute! And damn, now I want one of those mood things.

    Though, I'm not sure what I'd use as "bitchy".

     
  • At 9:30 PM, Blogger Noemi said…

    The mood dodecahedron makes me think of The Phantom Tollbooth. Come to think of it I'm pretty jealous that you have one and think Kyle has to be a cool guy to get one for you.

     
  • At 11:54 AM, Blogger Elizabeth Sanford-Anson said…

    “His name isn't Kyle, but I'm going to call him that anyway, in case he ever reads this (because believe me, he's smart enough to hack in).”

    Why would he have to hack in? If he has a Blogger account he could just stumble across it like I did.

    “Kyle is 24, graduated from high school when he was 14, and has two Ph.D.s (math and physics). He also has all of his course work completed for a third doctorate in Comparative Religion. This means he managed to cram nine years worth of graduate school into three, which would have made me start screaming and never stop. He has photographic memory, can speed read, and (and to me, this is his most useful skill) can balance his checkbook (and mine) in his head.

    The most fascinating thing about him, though, is the way he dresses. He has no problems wearing a pinstriped suit with a paisley dress shirt and bolo tie. He also owns white disco pants, several pairs of bell-bottoms, and a full-fledged zoot suit that makes him look like Johnny Dangerously.”

    You certainly seem to be surrounded by some real characters!

     

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