Sunday, January 06, 2008

Life Imitating Art

This post is dedicated to my friend, Craig W. Dye.

In the mid-1980s I worked as a paralegal at a large law firm in Washington, DC. A new employee had just been hired by the firm in early October 1986. He was originally from Buffalo, New York, and had come to Washington to work on a master's degree in international relations at a local university. At that time I worked in an annex of the firm's library, located on the second floor of the firm's offices. The new employee and I shared workspace in the library. I could not avoid noticing him, nor could any of the other employees. This remarkable young man seemed much older than he looked; in fact, he did not strike anyone as a paralegal at all. In contrast to us, he seemed strange and mature, rather like a gentleman. He was not popular at first, did not take part in our office pranks, and only his firm, self-confident tone toward the senior managers won the admiration of fellow employees. He was called Craig Dye.

One day, I kept glancing toward Craig whose face held a peculiar fascination for me, and I observed the intelligent, light, unusually resolute face bent attentively and diligently over his work; he didn't at all look like a paralegal doing an assignment; but rather like a scientist investigating a problem of his own. I couldn't say that he made a favorable impression on me; on the contrary, I had something against him: he seemed too superior and detached, his manner too provocatively confident, and his eyes gave him a mature expression--which insecure people never like--faintly sad, with flashes of sarcasm. Yet I could not help looking at him, no matter whether I liked him or detested him, but if he happened to glance my way I averted my eyes in panic. When I think back on it today, and what he looked like as a coworker at that time, I can only say that he was in every respect different from all the others, was entirely himself, with a personality all his own which made him noticeable even though he did his best not to be noticed; his manner and bearing was that of a prince disguised among office staff, taking great pains to appear one of them.


Gary Freedman said...

This post is a paraphrase of a passage from Hermann Hesse's novel, "Demian."

Shiv said...

this book has several manifestations of homosexual tendencies. i see you've picked a section that is particularly strong in this regard.

have you given homosexuality a thought, gary?