In a fair recount of the day, you could say that Ed and I squabbled over a definition: of what constitutes “an occasional traveling companion” – a term I apply to him liberally throughout Ocean.
I could see this coming. Ed and I are as different as, oh, I don’t know – a pea and a calculator. It should not shock anyone that we disagree about definitions. We can’t even agree on how to pronounce words. I’ve played the Merriam-Webster audio of hover dozens of times and he still won’t fully buy into the fact that it is not the same as Dover or clover. Here, click and listen: hover.
Most of our disagreements of this nature take place at the occasional times he happens to drive me to work. This is, of course, unfortunate, as one likes to enter the classroom with a clear head, rather than with definitional quandaries of monumental significance. Because I’m sorry, but it is important if you want to define OTC as someone you occasionally ring up and ask – say, are you game for a trip to Sardinia? – that’s quite different than the OTC who is, among other things, your occasional traveling companion.
Still, I am like the person who has a pocket eraser – a magic one at that, like the tool you’ll find in Photoshop: it blurs the rough edges. I reach for it and, before I take the last step into the classroom, all traces of the definitional differences are gone.
Sadly, after the two hour seminar, I realized that the definitional squabble meant that I forgot to send myself the next lecture. In my office, I draw a blank screen when I try to access it.
And so, in the middle of the day, I take the bus home, pick up my notes and catch the next bus back, just in time for class.
After, I promise myself two things: no more bus rides for the day, and no more discussions about definitions.
I walk home, pick up CSA spinach and various other vegetables for a green soup. I call Ed, my occasional traveling companion, and tell him -- the soup is ready.