Instead of eating lunch today I sat on a bench in the Courthouse garden and read. As I sat I thought about a freaky dude I used to know when I worked at the bookstore more than 10 years ago. Doogie was a quiet, unassuming artistic type for the most part, but with a violent temper that left--literally--holes kicked through sheetrock walls in the back offices on occasion. Doogie used to sit on a bench in the Courthouse garden at lunch, instead of eating in the breakroom with the rest of us. We thought he was weird, because there were cool people at Borders back then, and the lunchroom was a riotous place to be, particularly during the Cosmo sex quiz era. Doogie would stay at the store overnight sometimes to use the store VHS and laserdisc players to watch movies because he lived in a cabin in the woods with no electricity.
So now I avoid eating with co-workers, and opt to spend my lunch time alone, sitting where odd Doogie used to sit. It's hard to find alone time these days, and harder to find time to read, so I guess maybe Doogie wasn't all that strange. Most of the fun, cool people who work in my office are recluses too anyhow: there's the fantastically brilliant woman who--were she capable of overcoming a painful shyness--would break records on Jeapardy!; there's my office-mate, an amateur ornithologist who spent 30 years teaching science in Catholic school; there's the woman whose husband keeled over in a midwestern airport recently when they were going to visit their daughter. He was barely into his 50s, and was thought to be in good health, and now she floats wraith-like amongst the cubicles. There are many hyper-intelligent and likely fun people here who, like me, just want to be alone.
Doogie seems to have moved on to better things, and I wish him well. Funny how Google can solve little mysteries.
And speaking of dudes I used to work with at Borders: