Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Treppenwitz

Last week I was leaving campus and I walked past a woman on her telephone. She was standing just off the narrow sidewalk as I passed, so we were quite close to each other. When I was immediately next to her, she said, "I love you."

It was the closest I've ever stood to a woman who was saying "I love you" without that woman being either my wife or my mother. And I wanted so badly to mess with her and say, "I love you, too." But modern American academia being what it is, I was sure I'd be fired for that. (Just like how, a few years ago, I wanted to hug a student wearing a shirt that read "FREE HUGS" but I was sure I'd be fired for that, too.)

So since I couldn't tell the woman, "I love you, too," my next thought was to tell her, "I just want to be friends." But by then I was a few steps past her and the moment was over.

I told my wife about this and she said it was best I didn't say anything because I would have ruined this woman's marriage. I said, "I'll do it next time." My wife said, "That situation will never come up again." But if it does, I now know the perfect thing to say.

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