The past few posts must have painted a gloomy picture about this adventure. It’s time to leave the dark side and take a peek into better times.
“Let us rent out the cameras first,” he said, walking down the hallway that separated the cafeteria from the eating area in the Student Center on Quinnipiac’s Mount Carmel campus. *
“Then,” he continued, his voice fastening, “I’ll get you home.”
Looking at the person that was walking next to me, I remembered the first time we met.
Just a few weeks earlier on the remote North Haven campus.
I opened the door to the conference room on the upper level. I counted five people, but one person stood out from the rest of the group.
The program director was typing on his laptop.
Going counter-clockwise, three young women followed.
He sat at the top of the table, leaning in the office chair. A denim-colored baseball hat covered his short hair. Inspecting the hat, I read the letters N and Y. Intertwined, they displayed the Yankees logo – I knew that. It felt like a mismatch that he had decided to match the baseball item with a white Rangers jersey. I hadn’t yet come across someone wearing items from two different teams, and two different sports, simultaneously.
I didn’t memorize his name that day, but I remembered the face the next time we met.
“Sounds good, Joe.” I replied.
The equipment checkout counter was located dangerously close to a specific office.
“Hey Joe! Hey Flo!” A deep but joyful voice interrupted our waiting time. While the student in front of us kept checking his equipment, we turned around and in sight came Professor Hanley.
Hanley: “What are you up to?”
He leaned comfortably in his armchair, a laptop sat on a small stand. There was no desk in the office, but a couch hugged the wall opposite our program director.
Joe: “Just renting out cameras for our broadcast projects. What are you still doing here?”
Hanley: “Paperwork, meetings, you name it.”
“Excuse me,” said the student leaving the checkout area while trying to balance camera case, tripod, and mic.
Joe went through the then still confusing renting process first. He ordered “the same stuff as that guy”, which made the young woman behind the counter disappear.
A few minutes later, Joe grabbed two bulky cases from the counter and said, “I’ll be in Hanley’s office.”
I followed suit and ordered “the same” one more time. The woman disappeared again, so did Joe.
While waiting for my equipment, I heard the fast conversation from the office across the aisle.
Sports – what else would they choose as topic for their conversation. I lent one ear to them, while the other one focused on the counter.
After I had signed the checkout agreement, I hefted the Panasonic HMC 70 and the tripod, along with my backpack to the office door, and peeked inside. The conversation kept flowing.
Hanley, stopping the sports talk: “Come on in, Florian.”
I walked into the small room carefully, placed the equipment next to Joe’s, and sat down next to him on the couch.
Hanley: “How are you doing?”
Me: “Doing great. Joe’s been a great help. I’m getting much more comfortable in the new environment every day.”
Hanley: “Great to hear. Make yourself comfortable.”
And from there, they continued talking a language I struggled to understand.
Baseball here, football there, hockey in-between. I tried to follow, tried to pick up the lingo – or at least bits and pieces of it to start with.
Time went by, the two of them kept going, interrupted by friendly laughter here and there. Twice or thrice, they focused on me, pausing their discussion to explain what the issue was.
More than an hour after I had set foot into the office, sports talk released us back into the real world. I found it fascinating that I had just witnessed an hour of sports talk between a professor and a student.
The atmosphere in there was snug and comfortable. I wasn’t used to this. But I sure liked the embracing warmness the Quinnipiac community was sending my way.
To Be Continued…
* Disclaimer about dialogue and some details in this post: Not accurate, but that’s how the situations felt for me and how I have them in my memories.