As I sat there, I thought back on my days as a student. It was my junior year and I was flipping thru the philosophy course offerings there were for the spring semester. I came across Philosophy of Language. I signed up.
My professor was a thin, tall man who didn’t seem like an introspective philosopher but nonetheless patiently taught us the basics. One day, he came in without saying a word and wrote vagueness on the board. He then took out pennies and put them on a pile in the table. He then started creating another pile of pennies from the first one and asked us to pinpoint at what point it became a pile of pennies. Is it 9 or 10? Is 12 pennies not a pile of pennies and 13 is? Is there really a number at which a pile of pennies magically comes into existence? Is it more than one penny? More than 3? And if so, why not more than two? Ahhh, I love philosophy.
For more on vagueness, this is a great post.
I was nervous to come back to the place where a few weeks ago, I had fallen apart. Returned to my same vices, my same distractions. I stayed at work until I knew I had to leave. Gathering my things, I found a familiar face. We went to a neighborhood watering hole and talked. About the new, the old, the laughs, and the tears we all carry.
After finishing a thought I had about my relationships and how sometimes people speak different languages, I suddenly realized I had become the teacher. When? How? At what point do we learn and can show the way? Especially when you are fairly certain you don’t know the way. My thoughts went back to my philosophy class and the pennies. I couldn’t pinpoint where I became an authority on familial relations or relationships but somehow I had something to contribute.
So I returned to my apartment and took out some ground pork. Because for some reason, the kitchen seemed like the safest place and although I had already eaten. The sizzle of meatballs, the briny flavor of capers, and the melting of anchovies in olive oil doesn’t change if you are somewhere old or somewhere new.