An excerpt from my potential new book

by phil on Saturday Nov 20, 2004 11:22 AM

I go in and out of thinking I'm going to be a writer. Anyways, I gave a shot at writing a character sketch:

Ezra likes caves.

Freud would have a field day with this guy. Sigmund Freud, the seminal German psychologist of the late 1800s and early 1900s invented the concept of the Oedipedal complex. Oedipus, according to Ancient Greek mythology, killed his father and then married his mother. Freud saw in Oedipus a universal male drive to "return to the womb."

But Ezra did not have a desire to return to the womb; he automatically and unconsciously rejected women.

"Man, I need to get a girl," he would say, the day after getting a girl's phone number but failing to call her.

Ezra's syndrome, therefore, was not a desire to be wrapped in the warm embrace of a relationship, but to reside in symbolic caves.

"This is a tragedy," Ezra said to me. "This is the end of an era."

Ezra doesn't usually speak in Homeric terms as "era" and "tragedy," but rather uses abbreviated computerspeak and hip-hop (for the ladies). So you can understand my concern.

"Why is this a tragedy, Ezra?"

"They're closing the Sweet Hall basement. This is the end of an era, Phil."

Sweet Hall is the "ministry" of Computer Science at Stanford. Or rather, the "citadel" of Computer Science. After Bill Gates gave Stanford the right amount of money, a "temple" was built for Computer Science half a mile away, so Sweet Hall's importance to Computer Science has been diminished. Nonetheless, it offers round-the-clock access to conference room-sized pods of computer clusters. The clusters on the second floor are arranged in rows like a NASA control room. There is just enough space in between the rows for students to sleep on the floor, as they often did around finals. This is somewhat odd, though, given that many of the dorms are seven minutes walking distance from Sweet Hall.

Ezra was not interested in the second floor though, where all the "commons" of Computer Science lurked, but rather the basement. The basement had older computers and no windows to the outside, making it an unpopular attraction. The emptiness perhaps gave Ezra freedom and solitude. But, unlike the second floor with its rows of computers, the basement's computers were arranged around the edge of the room, leaving free space in the center for a couple of tables. Ezra would sometimes sleep on those tables underneath the flouresence. And then there was a dark nook with a couple more computers. Out of all the computers, most of which were in well-lit areas, and all of which Ezra had complete access to, he consistently chose the nook.

Ezra has deep black hair, deep black eyebrows, deep brown eyes, and never wears shorts. His skin color gives no indication that he had lived in the deserts of California most of his life. But, perhaps this makes sense, given his nocturnality and preference for caves.

"I used to be all goth."

Goth is a fashion statement of black and macabre. Think Elvira. Think black boots or black dresses worn in the summer.

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