Sunday, November 18, 2012

BUS STORY # 315 (Portrait # 7.1: Leader, Revisited)

Bar Bulletin for March 30, 2011 by busboy4
Bar Bulletin for March 30, 2011, downloaded from the website for Helen Gwinn , a New Mexico artist whose painting, “Let’s Talk,” was chosen for the March 30, 2011, issue of Bar Bulletin, “the Official Publication of the State Bar of New Mexico.”

Back in May of 2010, I posted a portrait of a rider that included this speculation: “He looks like a lawyer or an ex-politician...” (You can read it here.)

Now, I have some new information.

I spotted him boarding my bus, and noticed he was carrying a book and magazine. He sat where I could see the tops of both.

The title of the magazine was “Bar Bulletin.”

I googled the title when I got home that evening, and at the top of my returns was the State Bar Of New Mexico Bar Bulletin.

(Reading further, I discovered there are Bar Bulletins for any number of states and municipalities. I wonder if New Mexico came up first in my search because Google has been implementing what are called “semantic” algorithms to give us what it thinks we want to see when we search. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.)

If the magazine has strengthened my hunch he is a lawyer, it is the book that now allows me to imagine a man looking for more than success in his profession and comfort in his daily life.

Running across the top of the book cover was Great Courses. His arm covered the remainder. But I had something else to google now. What I found was a wide variety of self-education options -- books, tapes, CDs -- spanning the whole of western civilization.

A few titles suggest they challenge the conventional wisdom in a given field of study, which would require the reader or listener to already know what the conventional wisdom is.

I can see a lawyer appreciating a good counter-argument and looking for strengths and weaknesses in the evidence.

But what I really end up seeing is a black man who I now imagine is systematically providing himself with a liberal arts education, a complete history of western civilization, a history that explains not only the improbability of how he has wound up being a part of it, but is now an essential part of his understanding his own transplanted roots.

Or: after a polite interval, he is returning the Great Courses volume to the colleague who lent it to him assuming, mistakenly, he would appreciate it. He actually prefers John Grisham.

Or: Well, the possibilities are endless, aren't they?

__________


The photo at the top of this story was downloaded from the website for Helen Gwinn, a New Mexico artist whose painting, “Let’s Talk,” was chosen for the March 30, 2011, issue of Bar Bulletin, “the Official Publication of the State Bar of New Mexico.”

2 Comments:

Anonymous Brenda said...

Now I want to know the whole story of this man! He sounds intriguing wrapped up in your descriptions. Thanks you for another great post.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

You’re not alone. I’d love the possibilities to be less “endless.” Thank you for your kind words.

9:41 AM  

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