The Campus Greeter

I never knew Ezell’s name until today, when he was featured in the Planet A2 Snooze. But I’ve been encountering him since that first fall three years ago when I began taking classes at our own *excellent* Washtenaw Community College.

I didn’t meet him that very first day. I thought that I had carefully calculated how long it would take me to get there five minutes early for class and then I ended up being five minutes *late* due to a freeway backup at that awful US23/Washtenaw interchange. Never again! The teacher who taught that first class was terrifying! The rules took up half the class. I couldn’t figure how to turn my blasted computer on. Class participation was required. Yikes! I sat there through half the class wondering what I had done to myself! Maybe if I had encountered Ezell on the way into the building, I’d’ve felt better about it all. I dunno.

Somehow, I was able to adapt to academia after thirty years or whatever the heck it’s been. I have now taken umpteen million classes from that terrifying teacher. I thrived on coding and Photoshop and writing umpteen million page papers. That first teacher is absolutely one of the best and I (and other students) actively seek her out! She challenges her students and doesn’t put up with any crap but she’s also fair and actively encourages student-teacher dialogue.

Anyway, I didn’t run into Ezell that first day but in the early weeks of school, I saw him often. Our conversations were for the most part limited to stuff like, “hello, it’s a beautiful day!” And I agree with him that rain, snow, and cold are as beautiful as any sunny, warm spring day you could conjure up.

And then there was the beautiful, sunny, warm fall day when I couldn’t conjure up my vee-hickle! I had droven the green Honda that day and there were about a million green Hondas in the parking lot but mine had a green and silver pinwheel in the back window, so you’d think I’d be able to find it. Not. I was walking around and around the gigantic parking lot and getting panicky and thinking about how I really didn’t want to have to deal calling the police about a stolen car and whatever that might entail.

By the time Ezell found me, I was fighting back tears. For me, this wasn’t any kind of ordinary day. It was the day that we were taking Lizard Breath to the airport to take off for her study abroad sojourn in Spain. Just to make things as bad as they could possibly be, Liz and I had had a rather ugly, “I hate you” style argument late the night before. We had already gone beyond that and now I know that that kind of stuff often happens just before a major change in coordinates like that. Between mama and baby, that is. I tried not to go into that space before Mouse left for Senegal but I can’t say we never got there. Just maybe not the night before! But still.

Anyway, Ezell told me where my car was and he was right and I had the distinct impression that he had seen me park it that morning. But that was okay. I guess he must’ve known I needed some help. More help than I usually need. He also said something about, “God bless.” I am not religious but I felt like somebody was looking after me that day. Thanks, Ezell. You kind of remind me of my dad in some ways…

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