Random Memories #1: The Eccentric Mathematician

As I sit here, on a high chair, in a Starbucks, reading over some article about looking into retirement while in your twenties, a random thought crept into my head. What inspired this thought within me and why at this moment? I don’t know exactly. But, the memory was random, indeed. It could have been that directly across from me sat an older gentleman reading a newspaper, clipping out articles, which sent off the vibe of being a little eccentric, I don’t know.

The remembrance took place some years back, during my undergrad years as a mathematician. During, maybe my sophomore or junior year, there was a gentle man. I presumed that he may have been homeless, and so did some of my friends at the time: there was something about the manner in which he carried himself that left impressions in us, we knew that he was different, not the typical college student. His wardrobe also fit our categorization of him.

This individual, whose name I never learned, and whom one of my colleagues had given a nickname, which I have now forgotten, would sit-in on some of the classes which I was enrolled in at the time. He had the resemblance of a monk, I remember. His head was almost bald, and wore big rimmed spectacles. He wore pants that were several sizes too big for his person. He would walk in to the lectures and sit on the back, and for the most part was fairly respectful. Some eventually began to complain that he smelled, and later he completely disappeared and no longer showed up around the math department at my school. I wonder what happened to him?

It is funny to me that after all this time, this memory still lives within me. This impression which was had many years back still lives and only now has resurfaced into my conscious awareness. What triggered it? I am not quite sure. What a peculiar memory. I wonder whatever happened to him? Who knows. Yet, he continues to live within me as a distant memory. I hope he is doing well.



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