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When I am at work and the weather is not so inclement to prevent it, I like to take my lunch outside. Since being outside is almost always my favorite place to be on a nice day, it works out well for me. One day I was sitting and enjoying the sun when a young man came and asked me if I minded if he joined me. Since it is a free world and he asked so courteously, I assured him that I didn't mind at all.
It turned out that he was a college student who worked part time close by and also liked to take his lunch in the outdoors. He had his lunch in one of those insulated bags that kids carry now and he it down on the picnic table along with a book he had been carrying under his arm.
“Don't let me stop you from reading,” I said.
He smiled and began to take his lunch out of the bag.
“Thanks,” he said, “but I'm kind of at a place in the book where I have to think about what I just read for awhile before continuing.”
I craned my neck and read the title on the front cover. It was The Treatise on Human Nature by the Scottish philosopher, David Hume. I was impressed. I had read that book when I was about 15 and became a lifelong fan of the man.
“Are you a philosophy major?” I asked.
It turned out that he wasn't, but he liked philosophy and had taken several classes in college.
We entered into a discussion about the book, other philosophers and the things they had written, and the power of philosophy as a subject to make you think. It was a wonderful conversation. I discovered that he was not only an attractive young man but highly intelligent and interesting as well. We spent a lovely lunch together.
After that day we informally met for lunch every day that we happened to be there at the same time and we always had a marvelous conversation with plenty of interesting ideas and laughter. I found him charming and great company.
After about a month of our lunches and conversations I found myself cornered by a group of young girls who work for me. It had come to my attention that I was having lunch in the company of this young man and they wanted to know all about him, primarily because they had all been crushing on him from a distance for a long time and had never managed to make contact.
“Do you know him from somewhere?” One of them asked.
“Only from here,” I answered.
“He is so hot,” said another.
I always cringe when I hear this particular expression. It sounds to me to be so superficial and prurient and such a childish way to describe another human being. I did not respond.
“How did you meet him? Someone asked.
“We just happened to be there at the same time having lunch and got to talking,” I said.
“You talk a lot,” said one young lady with a hint of odd suspicion in her voice, as if talking a lot was a metaphor for something else entirely or something that she did not understand.
“We share a lot of interests,” I said.
“Like what?” She asked with grave doubt in her voice. Obviously, it was difficult for her to imagine that a young man who was so 'hot' would share any interests with a woman old enough to be his mother.
“Well,” I said. “like philosophy, art, literature, science, history. Like, ideas.”
They all just looked at me and said nothing. I could tell that what I had said was bouncing around in their brains and having a hard time finding a place to land.
“He probably likes talking about that stuff with an older person.” One of them finally said.
“Oh, undoubtedly,” I replied. “We older people are good for that sort of thing.” Bless the child, I could just guess what she was thinking. Because I would hold no interest for him in any other way he was politely doing the only thing that he could think of and talking with me. It took all my self-control not to laugh.
“What does he like in girls?” Someone asked.
“Frankly, I have no idea,” I said, “since that aspect of a relationship in no way enters into the dynamic of the one we have it has never come up as a matter for discussion. We don't sit there during our lunch braiding each other's hair and talking about boys, or girls. There is one thing I can tell you, he is charming, sweet, extremely intelligent, and a wonderful conversationalist, so I doubt if he would be terribly interested in the latest reality show on TV or what the Kardashian sisters are currently up to.”
I started to walk away. “Maybe he doesn't even like girls,” I said, just to jerk their chains.
The next time I saw the nice young man at lunch I told him that I felt sorry for him. He asked why.
“Because I think your road to finding a nice young lady to spend your life with may be a difficult one,” I said.
“You can say that again.” He said.
I didn't, but I thought it.
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