I first met Angel at the Little Café near home a few weeks ago. I was worried at the time that if he came in regularly it would be difficult to get any work done. If he is in the room, you know it. He is an energetic soul, and it is only with the greatest effort that he can leave me to work, when he is bursting with stories and ideas. He is able to keep that effort level required for restraint for perhaps thirty seconds before the pressure of all the ideas bottled up inside him pops his safety valve.
Tonight we met at the Little Café by agreement, so I had no expectations of writing. Tonight was for talking.
Angel is by any measure a good guy. He is sharp, no doubt about it — not only does he understand quite a few languages, he understands language. At one time he worked at a university in Peru, and gave most of his salary back to the university because, for him, there is nothing more important than education. Angel is an idealist and a shameless Christian.
I chose the word ‘shameless’ very carefully. Angel is not ashamed to be Christian, nor would he ever try to make anyone else ashamed for not being Christian. He believes in a higher authority is all. He is a philosopher, a lecturer, and a teacher. Much of what he says, I don’t completely agree with, but that’s OK. Part of that is that we agree that when people stop and listen to each other we can get along, even if we don’t agree.
Tonight over beers he said, “You can say ‘murder is bad’ and I will ask ‘why? Where is the authority that says so?’ He’s not arguing in favor of murder, he’s saying there is a reason murder is bad, and that the reason is bigger than humanity. Personally I don’t see the need for a higher authority, but that just made the conversation more interesting. It’s surprisingly hard to find people who are both passionate in their beliefs and tolerant of others.
In the last few days I’ve had fairly intense conversations with Greabeard and with Angel. In both cases part of the discussion is a search for a mutual definition of terms — making sure we’re using the same word in the same way. With Angel the process was much more rewarding. You can posit that this is the difference between argument and debate, but on that point I would have to disagree.
The reason I met up with Angel tonight is because he needs a place to crash for a few days until his new apartment is ready. This will be interesting indeed. My place looks like I’m still moving in (in a sense I am moving back into the room where Soup Boy slept), and there is overall a sense of disorder. I am, in my own small way, entropy’s little helper*. More than that, there will be a very large presence in my sanctuary for a few days. His need for a place is part of a large, complicated fur-ball of events that are his story to tell, not mine, but even being an uninformed bystander has been educational.
*On the entropy bit, it is important to remember that every time you achieve order you must expend enough energy to create more disorder somewhere else. By not moving the stack of boxes out of my living room, I am delaying the heat death of the universe. You don’t have to thank me, it’s what I do.