(2018-11-01) In The Library with Astrophysics
Edgar and Elliot meet in the library and discuss Psychology, Literature, and Astrophysics.

Edgar stands at the desk, dressed in his usual super-casual jeans, concert shirt, and hoodie. He's got two envelopes with him, which he offers over to the librarian. "Here," he says, "proof I live here in Calaveras." He waits while his address is verified, and there's something pensive about the way he carries himself, like he's expecting to get caught doing god knows what.

Elliot enters the library and makes his way over toward the desk, standing off to one side so that he is not crowding Edgar while the man takes care of the business he'd come in to do. He pulls out his phone and taps through it for a moment, setting it to mute within the library and tucking it back into his pocket before straightening his tie a little bit. He's dressed for work, in his usual tweedy professor chic, suit neat, and today in hues of dark blue and chocolate brown. He studies Edgar casually as he stands nearby off and on, and those others who wander in and out of the library.

Edgar glances at Elliot as he approaches, and he offers him a smile. His shoulders sag a little in relief when the librarian starts processing his library card. He's not doing anything wrong, from all appearances, but who knows? As he waits for the card, he says to Elliot, "You look like you just came from the University."

"That'd be because I just came from the university," Elliot says with a little bit of a grin at the comment. He gives his leather bag a bit of a nudge that has the university crest on it. "I teach there." He nods toward the desk and says, "Just picking up some books. I could have had them transferred to the university library but.. I wanted to take a walk."

Edgar grins. "That's cool," he says. "What do you teach?" He pauses to tell the librarian his birthday, for the card. January 9th. He then tells Elliot, "I just moved into town, so I'm getting my library card. It's just oen of those things that makes it all official, you know what I mean?"

"Psychology," Elliot says, "Psych 101 and Developmental Psychology at the moment," leaning a little bit against the desk while the librarian goes about the process of getting Edgar's card set up. "Welcome to Calaveras," he says with a bit of a smile and then offers a hand. "Elliot Bell. Nice to meet you. Does moving to a new place usually entail getting a library card? I've lived here my whole life so, moving isn't something I've done."

Edgar shakes Elliot's hand and says, "Edgar Hayes. Most people call me Ed. Thanks. I really like it so far. And yeah, they need proof of residence to give you a library card. I don't think my card from New York is going to do me any good here." He flicks his hand through his hair and smiles. "So you've lived here all your life? Wow."

"Nice to meet you, Ed," Elliot says after giving his hand a friendly but brief shake. "Yep. Not that I haven't traveled. I've visited a number of places, but I've always lived here. It's not a bad place to live. What brought you to Calaveras?"

"I was looking for a place to start over," Edgar says, leaning lightly against the counter. "New York City felt a little too big anymore, so I started looking online for places to live, and I kind of stumbled on Calaveras by chance. Figured it had everything I needed, so I packed up and moved out."

"Huh," Elliot says with a little bit of a laugh, "Who would have figured — New York to Calaveras. Well, I hope you find everything that you're looking for here. If nothing else, there are some nice views and good skiing, if you like to ski." He says, "I liked New York when I visited, but it's a bit too crowded to me, which can be fun in small doses but I think I'd go crazy with that many people packed so close together all the time."

"I've never even tried to ski before," Edgar admits. "I might give it a shot, but only with a lot of help." He takes his newly minted library card and thanks the librarian. Though he sidles away to let the next person have a turn, he's in no hurry to move off from Elliot. "New York is great, but it was time for a change."

Elliot moves up to hand the librarian his card and indicate that he is here to pick up some books on reserve for him, then turns back toward Edgar, "You should give it a try. They have bunny slopes for learning. I've been a few times and have managed to learn how to stay mostly upright most of the time." He gives a little wry grin. "Sometimes you need a change. Who knows, maybe in another ten years or so I'll be sick of it here and decide to try someplace else."

"I can reccommend New York, but you'll have to get used to the crowds," Edgar says. He puts his card in his wallet, then shoves it back in his pocket. "You get used to it, though. I still have trouble sleeping sometimes because it's so quiet. I'm used to traffic, sirens, people talking, loud neighbors. Sometimes the quiet's a little too much. I'm getting used to it, though."

"I'm pretty sure there are louder parts of the town, but you probably wouldn't want to live there," Elliot says with a slight shake of his head. He takes the books that are passed over to him and thanks the librarian before moving off to one side, but only to the other side of Edgar so that others can come and go from the desk without him being in the way. "Nothing like NYC, though. Have you thought of getting one of those white noise machines or apps where you can set it to city background sounds? You could gradually wean yourself toward the quiet that way. It might help you to get used to it more gradually."

"I might try that," Edgar says. "I've got a thing that does rain on my Echo, but it's not the same." He sweeps his hair from his eyes, and there's the shadow of a bruise around one of them. It's fading, and not very prominent. "I live downtown, which is pretty cool, but still quieter than I'm used to."

"It's not what your mind is used to hearing though while you're asleep, and so while it's probably helpful, it's not quite what you're expecting. Try going for one that is a kind of mixture of distant sirens and voices, that sort of thing," Elliot suggests, studying Edgar. He notices the bruise, taking it in along with all the other details about the man that he notices as they talk, from the tone and accent of his voice, to his mannerisms. "I live downtown, too. My family has a house where I could stay, but I prefer the quiet and the independence of my own place — also was easier to study there when I was working on my doctorate than trying to do it surrounded by family."

Edgar nods and says, "Yeah, that makes sense." He shoves his hands in his pockets and leans back against the desk. "You know that from your psychologist studies, huh," he says. "Oh, man, I bet that's got to be weird, walking around knowing why people do what they do. If everyone like a case study, or can you turn it off? I had to learn how to turn off my inner critic while reading so I could just enjoy the stories."

"Yes, and no, I guess. I tend to notice things about people when I meet them and talk to them for a while, and I'm sure that there are a lot of things I process subconsciously that I'm not even aware of," Elliot says thoughtfully. "I try not to analyze everyone I meet, though, at least not consciously. If I don't understand why someone did or said something, then yes I might find myself consciously trying to figure it out but … I try to control my advice-giving to when I think it might be welcome and is relatively benign… like the noise thing." He smiles a little sheepishly. "Sorry."

Edgar grins and says "Don't be sorry. It's good advice. And, look, I already know I'm kind of a human trainwreck, so whatever your senses tell you, I've done therapy, and I'm working on it." He rocks on his heels a little. "I'm a writer," he mentions. "So when I read fiction, the urge to nitpick and correct is kind of a distraction. There's always 'I wouldn't have written it that way' in the back of my mind. I've got myself somewhat trained out of it."

Elliot chuckles and slides his hands into his pockets, leaning back against the desk. "Look, I'm no one to judge. I mean, I'm one qualified to help, but not one to judge. I've got my own issues. We all do." He then tilts his head a little and says, "Ah, a writer. I thought you might have been a literary critic," from when he'd mentioned his inner critic. "What sort of things do you write, if you don't mind me asking?"

"I write science fiction," Edgar says. "More like speculative fiction with a sci-fi bent." He gestures vaguely around and says, "They carry some of my books here. I was going to donate the ones they don't have. I figure I shipped them all from New York for a reason." He smiles wryly. "I used to be part of a critique circle that was pretty hardcore, but I'm not a professional critic."

"I'll have to look for them, then, and check them out," Elliot says when Edgar mentions that the library has them. "I read a little bit of everything. I don't have any one particular genre that I stick to. As long as the story catches my interest within the first chapter or so, I'll usually stick with it."

"Look for the name Knox Stevens," Edgar says. "You're not going to find anything under Edgar Hayes." He rubs at the back of his neck, and absently anxious gesture. He doesn't seem to know what to do with empty, idle hands. "It's kind of like a hat you learn to take off when you don't need it, that critical mind. You still notice the stuff that bugs you, but you learn to let it go."

"Oh.. Knox Stevens. I've seen that name before. I don't think I've read anything of yours, but I do recall seeing the name," Elliot says after a moment of thought. He nods in agreement though and says, "I sometimes have a hard time overhearing people talking about psychology, or about their kids and their development, or abnormal psychology in restaurants or on trains. I keep wanting to put my two cents in. The urge to educate people is strong, sometimes."

"Man, tell me about it," Edgar says. "For me, it's Literature and Astrophysics. I have to stop myself from butting in and being like, 'well, actually…'" He half-smiles and ducks his head, which of course sends his hair back over his eyes again. "So what's your favorite part of Psych?"

"Well if I ever try to sound like I know anything about astrophysics, you are more than welcome to butt in and 'well, actually' me all you like," Elliot laughs. "I think the perspective that it gives you, for understanding how we develop as human beings, why we interact the way that we do, and how to help others who are struggling with issues that it's very difficult for others to comprehend who don't have the same experiences. That understanding and perspective is deeply satisfying, even when it means that you sometimes understand exactly why you do things that make no sense, and do them anyway."

"I'll be sure to be your armchair expert," Edgar says, and he sweeps his hair back as he looks up at Elliot again. "I'm interested in Psychology from a writer's perspective, for helping me understand characters that I write. I mean, I don't think, like, I can't write characters without it, but you'd think as their creator I'd understand why they are the way they are, and most of the time I just don't."

"Excellent, because I can honestly say I know just about nothing about astrophysics, and only some things about Literature," Elliot smiles. "Well, clearly you can write characters without it beacuse you have been, but sometimes it is interesting to know a little bit about it to perhaps craft characters with complex psychological stories and profiles, if that's something that you're interested in doing. But just letting characters be who they are organically without having any sort of real clear idea why isn't.. necessarily a bad thing."

"I'm sure most of them are based on my own complex psychological profile," Edgar says, "I just don't know what it is. It's like on some level we get it, but we don't. So do you do psychology discussions pro bono? Could I maybe buy you a cup of coffee, sometime? We could trade psychology for astrophysics or literature. Or both. I combine the two, like, all the time."

Elliot chuckles, "I think that's probably a little bit true. And sometimes we create characters that are nothing like us, or like who we might aspire to be if we weren't mired in our own bullshit. But sure, I'll discuss psychology for a cup of coffee." He reaches into his bag and pulls out a card from within with his information on it and he hands it over to Edgar. "Literature and Astrophysics would be an added bonus. But mostly, I run on coffee."

Edgar takes the card and says, "Thanks! Wow, I'd love to just sit and talk. I miss academia sometimes. I kind of got in and got out, but sometimes I wish I would've spent a little more time at school. There were always great discussions to get into at school. You talk about all that kind of heady, cerebral stuff on the street and people just look at you."

"Sure. I'm more than happy to just sit and talk about stuff, and you're always walcome to stop by the university if you like, drop in on one of my classes just to observe," Elliot says. "Get nostalgic then spend some time around undergrads and remember why you escaped when you did." He smiles, a sparkle in those dark eyes. He doesn't really mean it. He seems to like what he does.

Edgar laughs quietly and says, "They all look like babies now. I'll be that one old guy in every class." Ed doesn't look much older than his mid-twenties, himself, despite being over thirty. "You know, the one all the other students just kind of work around, because he's just weird. That'll be me, with Birkenstocks and socks on."

"Birkenstocks and socks, and shorts on in the winter, with a hawaiian shirt," Elliot adds to the image and then shakes his head just a little bit. He then pulls away from the desk, straightening up and picking up his pile of books, adjusting his bag over his shoulder. "It was very cool to meet you, Ed. We should definitely get coffee some time and talk nerdy. Unfortunately, I have a lot of grading I need to get done tonight and no T.A. to schlep it off on at the moment, so I should probably head back. But, hit me up soon?"

"Sure thing," Edgar says. "We'll do coffee soon, and I'll bring my best astrophysics game to the table. It's all about quasars, man." He wink. "Take care, Elliot. It was good to meet you."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License