Sometimes, I can't believe my luck. Living in this mad town means I get to hang out with a lot of really, really smart people. Not just that, but smart people who run practically the entire gamut of the ways there are for smart people to be interesting.
But even in that crowd, M is special. His hyper-geekery is the kind that makes him some sort of ninja. Even in this world of the multipy-degreed, he has too many degrees. His brain is slowly chewing up the entire structure of the universe until there is nothing left and he is transformed into the Lawnmower Man. But along with all this goes a strange, oddly benevolent asceticism. He dresses carefully and beautifully in simple, monochromatic clothes. He speaks rarely, listens with chameleon invisible focus, and chews up the intellectual scenery without even trying. Every now and then, if you watch very closely, you can see a thought form in his eyes, like the impossibly bright point mass at the beginning of the universe.
Whenever I see that, part of me hopes, like a kid hopes there's still a chocolate biscuit left in the jar, that M will say something about the thought. Often he doesn't, and the thought becomes part of the expanding event horizon of his brain without the rest of us seeing it. And I confess that the other part of me, when I see the blinding point mass, hopes that he doesn't say anything, because god help me, it is as intimidating as hell.