Learning Curve

by Ben Paddon
originally published at 07:51PM on Sunday, December 09, 2007

I didn’t really ask for a conversation with this man, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to be on the receiving end of his own personal preaching. What I’ll be doing when I leave town is really none of his business. But there’s something about his eyes, his face… I find it very difficult to ignore him.

“As a matter of fact,” I tell him, “I’m going to travel. I’m going to see everything I can, learn everything I can.”

“I see,” he says, taking another sip of his coffee. “So you’re a bum.”

I’m feeling rather confident. I set my coffee down, turn to look him straight in the eyes, and I say: “If you want to be narrow-minded about it, yeah. Personally, I consider it to be more a sort of training.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that those who can, teach. Those who can’t, learn. It’s only by learning that we can hope to teach one day. What do you do?”

He gulps down the last of his coffee, gets up, and walks towards the door. As he opens the door, he turns to me and says three words.

“Come with me.”

And I do.

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