Erin Dahlgren

A Man Named Oldot

In a certain district in San Francisco there lived a young man named Oldot.

The reader must know that Oldot strove wholeheartedly, put perhaps unconciously, to be the most rational of men. He gave himself up to the honorable profession of engineering software in the most straightforward way. Oldot, we must admit, was not a very clever man; not once was he known to have tried a solution that was uncharted. But this did not matter much, and in fact was to his credit, because novelty took time and failure a mop and broom. So it was satifactory to all that Oldot never compromised his efficiency if he could help it.

This attitude filtered into almost everything Oldot did: He was continuously avoiding his neighbors, who he found to be too old or too young, or too unlike him to interact with in a satisfactory way.

Only with his landlady, who lived at arms reach from his mailbox, was he the least bit talkative; but only because it was in his interest to be.

Oldot had few friends in this world. Anderson, another engineer, would enter his household regularly on the pretence of discussing the very best spandex running shorts. These discussions would go on for countless minutes, eventually always turning into heated rebukes in which personal experience was thrown around willy-nilly like a switch blade knife, and after a time they would see the damage they had done, would embrace with meaning and find softer topics like the use of plantains in fried dishes. Occassionally one friend would announce a new software library they had found or an editor feature they now loved. But for the most part this talk of work was not enjoyable unless there was a serious problem at hand. And this was simply impossible when Anderson was welcome, on weekends, because the highest priority was vigorous exercise and rest.

One fine San Francisco morning — it was one of those bright Tuesdays — Oldot found himself wiping the steam valve stem of his espresso machine with unusual care, wondering in an uncharacteristic fashion what his life might have been if he had taken up a profession as fruitless as that of a writer. Or journalist, he imagined they said nowadays. Apart from the useful 4 paragraph blog stints like “How to Book a Cheap Cruise” and “Braces, Mending Plates, & Shelf Brackets”, he felt very strongly that the rightful place for serious writers was Project Gutenburg and minimum wage coffee shops. So it is even more shocking that he thought of himself, even for a moment so brief, in a position of one of these irrational — might we be so bold as to say downright unintelligent individuals — who expended so much energy for so little return.

He was very pleased with where modern writing was going, towards more facts and less nonsense. And that was that.

That morning Oldot’s office was as excellent to him as it always was, for there were highly straightforward people who were willing to talk of memory leaks, leeks, and encryption proxies. And when most appropriate, there was not one but three dessert restaurants within walking distance (he had recently been convinced that one was not enough). In its most unexcellent aspects — those few strange individuals who were long winded, confusing folk — Oldot responded handsomely by nodding his blank face and then complimenting their very small european cars.

No one bothered him today, not even to ask how was “doing”. So he settled into his customized ergnomic seat thinking how on all accounts this morning could still turn out to be execellent.

One might notice that there would be no point in telling the reader of this morning if it turned out to be so oridinary. No, this morning was definitely not an ordinary one, and finally at half past eleven, just as Oldot received the daily company lunch announcement of organic, seasoned squirrel food, did the event of our interest take place.

To be continued.

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