5.18.2007

A Brush With Nobility

Many regular readers have asked me from time to time what became of the hairy-eared old gentleman who chased me from the bus all those years ago to dote upon me with the gift of jam. "Where is Noble these days," they would say. Where is Noble, indeed! I would reply. For all I knew the ancient researcher had gone on to a better place and was no more. But it seems fate had another chance meeting in store for myself and the brittle Brit (from whom this blog earned the top ranking google search spot for "manatee kidneys.")

Today I saw him at a cafeteria near my office. He has forsaken the cabby hat of yesteryear and donned a baseball cap (and I am sorry, but in my excitement upon seeing him again, I completely neglected to pay attention to the decal on the front.), but not the tired tweed jacket with elbow patches for which he is known and loved. I was with a friend and so I did not approach him, only pointed him out. I was in the checkout as he rounded the corner of the salad bar and headed to the coffee station. I and my friend found a quiet spot on tall stools along one window. As luck would have it, Noble had already claimed the table next to us. As he came over I saw, out of the corner of my eye on one of the chairs nearby, the same dingy green knapsack from which the famed jar of strawberry preserves was once produced! Noble set down his tray to eat his lunch. Lunch consisted of two large pieces of soft bread and a cup of coffee with cream. I tried not to look at him too much as my friend and I ate. We talked and laughed per usual, but I could feel a Noble moment right around the corner. I knew I couldn't leave without saying hello. I had to say hello.

As we stood up to leave I said loudly, "Hello, Noble! How are you?"
"What?" He looked up at me with his mouth full.
"Good to see you. How's your research?"
Still chewing, "What?"
"How's your research?"
He stood up and walked over to me, leaning in with his hairiest ear, "What?"
"How is your research going?" Once again I am in public, yelling at a little old man. How does Noble always do this to me?
"Oh, you work here now?"
"I work on the other side of the street. How's your research in kidneys going?"
"I only come in once a week," he says cryptically with bread crumbs shooting like sparks from his mouth. I notice for the first time that half his teeth are missing in the front and the other half are a dark brown color. He is still talking through the bread crumbs, "You should stop and see me sometime."
"Yes? Where do you work?" I ask.
"I'm at the same place," he says.
"Where is that?" I ask again.
"In Lakewood! Same place I've been living! it's not that hard for you to stop by sometime. On a weekend. Stop by some weekend!" It is a brilliant plan and Noble is already congratulating himself on bagging a romantic encounter. He caps off the achievement with a bit of that magical memory work for which we love him so much. "Your name is Sarah, right?"
"Yes!" I show my surprise that he remembers me so well.
"You look different," he studies me up and down for a moment. he continues, "Your last name is..."
I wait for it. Hoagland. Say Hoagland.
"Hollander, right?"
I burst into the biggest smile, "Yes! Hollander."
"H-O-L-L-A-N-D-E-R?" He spells it out.
"Exactly," I say, wondering what my last name will be the next time we meet. Actually, now that I think about it, he'll probably go right home and look it up in the phone book. If there is a Sarah Hollander out there, I apologize.

I began my exit, "Well, we've got to go, but I wanted to say hi." Noble opened his arms inexplicably and it looked as if he was waiting for a hug. He never got it.

My friend and I headed outside.
"Was that the guy who followed you off the bus?" she asks.
"Yep."
"Then why'd you want to talk to him?" she queried.
"Because he's Noble."

And that's as good a reason as a person should need.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Tara said...

That was quite a noble thing you did, catching up with the old legend, Sarah Hopenheimer. He may have gotten into a bit of a rumble in an alleyway, and got his teeth knocked out. That's so Noble.

18/5/07 14:18  
Blogger Steve DeGroof said...

Hooray! A new Noble story. I'm going to be playing the manatee kidneys song in my head all afternoon.

18/5/07 15:22  
Anonymous normzone said...

That's my girl. Sis, I've been waiting for this since - well, since your last post regarding the old boy.

It's a good thing you didn't tell him your name was Sarah Conner.

ngtciisv: a vietnamese cooking implement used for straining pho

20/5/07 10:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

-World
Great update. It's always nice to find a reason to yell in public.

dltxt: A textbox command that automatically deletes all text after 95 characters from th

21/5/07 12:59  

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