Conversations with strangers.

Man sitting next to me in coffee shop: Are you preparing legal documents?

Me: Me? No.

Man: Then what are you working on?

Me: An article…about English literature.

Man: Oh, so you’re taking a course in English then?

Me: No, I’m a professor of English.

Man, incredulously: No! What? A professor??

Me: Yes.

Man: I thought you had to be old and curmudgeonly to be a professor!

Me: Well, I’m working on that.

Man: Ha ha! So what are you reading there?

Me: Actually, this is philosophy.

Man: …

Me: Heidegger.

Man: …

Me: He was a German philosopher.

Man: Well don’t be so sure. You never know.

Me: …

Man: For example, my name? A lot of people think it’s German, but it’s not.

Me: Yes, well, Heidegger was actually German. Though I read him in English translation.

Man, shaking his head: YOU NEVER KNOW.

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