Seen on the Red Line to 95th at about 5:35 p.m., April 13th, 2011
Thomas has a vision of himself: he is the classic academic. He tries to fulfill this in every aspect of his appearance. His red hair is "carelessly" or "effortlessly" tousled, but it becomes more diligently trimmed as it inches down his face into a tidy beard. A scarlet polo shirt collar peeks out from the top of his slightly worn camouflage-green jacket. His legs are clad in gray corduroy; his feet in black leather. A pair of thin-rimmed square glasses completes the look.
During his commute, he studiously reviews a double-spaced paper that he has written. He shuts out the commotion of the train and pours all his energy and concentration into the paper. If he could, Thomas would smash his face into the paper, grinding his molecules into the spaces between the lines until he was the paper, and the paper was a living being. That would prove to the world how serious he is about learning, how deep his love of knowledge. Despite his poor grades, despite his inability to comprehend his classes, everyone would know his true dedication to the scholarly life.
I saw "Thomas" on my way down to University of Chicago to see Neil Gaiman speak! And I shook his hand! Pretty much the best day ever. I'm going to pretend that this means that some of his writing genius has rubbed off on me. Yeah. Let's go with that.