As class was starting at nine am on October 9th, 2014, a Thursday, Rod says he was once the buyer of all the major media equipment for the Biscayne Bay Campus. He reminisces about the glories of the job as I shift my weight from foot to foot, staring at a fresh gash across Rod’s chest which is revealed by the washed out, unbuttoned polo shirt he wears.
The room is extra humid because of the rain showers and there’s is a bitter smell in the still air. There are no windows and it’s filled with equipment that looks outdated and dusty. It’s difficult to imagine how he copes in here all day long, but then again, some people like the smell of their own farts, so, maybe he doesn’t mind and I’m passing too much judgement.
Rod notices my gaze and casually reveals he has cancer. I sense the abrupt tension of my equally-late classmate with my back still turned to her. We are no longer impatient. Who has less time on their hands, an elderly man with cancer or two wet-behind-the-ears students?
“I feel like I’m naked,” Rod says, “I usually dress more formally when I’m here.”
“Don’t even worry about it, man, you look real Miami Vice, like Don Johnson,” I upchuck a hoarse laugh because maybe I’m sick, but probably because I’m overwhelmed.
Rod has us captive now. He expands on how the faceless higher-ups bastardized his equipment. He originally had the recording booth in one of the rooms in a higher floor. It was removed from the vibrations and had thick walls separating it from the chaos and unkind noise from the outside.
Back then, inside the booth, it was absolute silence, Rod remembers. “If you get white noise in your recording, it’s not because of my equipment.”
He tells me about how the first floor of the building we are speaking in was once bare, just support beams for the upper floors. This was designed to avoid the unexpected tragedies life can bring such as flooding.
Rod says the decision makers wanted to move things around. Against his wishes, they put the booth where it now is. Next, they told him they were buying a new booth, this time it was one from a cheaper class. They dealt him with the indignity of forcing him choose the best recording booth from a range of crappy options.
“I chose the second one, because, at least it looks cool,” he looks me in the eye and grins, seriously joking.
I decide then that Rod will be alright. I can leave him now and go to class and he won’t break down since his outlook is more angry than fragile.
I am fifteen minutes late. I sign off on my recorder, snatch it off the table, pick up some pace and turn the corner into class. I think to myself; everything is moving so fast these days. There’s no time to think too much about sad things.
I still haven’t taken the time to ask Professor about his Rod story. For that reason and others, this post is simply a speculative snapshot on the plight of a prideful man in an ancillary position on campus. This post is not meant to make light of anyone with a stitched up slash across his or her chest, a healing wound from where a tumor was surgically removed not a month before. More research is necessary.