Meeting the Prez

So I aided in giving an interview to our school’s president this afternoon on behalf of the Thorn. I’ve been working on this tribute to Dr. H, but had yet to actually meet the man. Bob, Brandon (the Opinions Ed. of the paper), and I went to his house with film equipment and taped about an hour and a half of interview on everything from his fight to bring coeducation to Rose (articles that me and another writer are working on) to things students indicated they wanted to know in a survey we sent around. Such as whether he wears boxers or briefs. Ugh.

At any rate, Dr. H is an interesting guy. Very… sharp. I was the only one of the three of us we hadn’t met, and he very clearly (but not in a dirty manner) sized me up the entire time I was there. Every time I turned around, his eyes were on me, measuring my reactions, my competence, my comfort level, everything. It’s very easy to underestimate him–he’s elderly, suffered a stroke, talks softly, and has a “sweet old man” persona that has thoroughly fooled Bridget, and, to some extent, Bob. But he watches. I hate that type of scrutiny, so I’m very aware of when I’m being subjected to it. Which is damned hypocritical of me, since I totally love to give that type of scrutiny. I should get over that–I’m aware enough of my own body language and (less so) speech patterns to be able to hold my own against that type of watchfulness, and there was no need to let him think I was some hyper-shy, soft-spoken and subservient computer science geek.

As we were leaving, Dr. H pulled a classic move of his as asked if Bob and I were going to dinner before we went to work tonight. Bob’s a doofus for not catching on to where this was going, but I let him shrug it off and answer it as though it were a casual request. He finally got direct and asked if we were dating, but made it friendly by joking that maybe this was what Bob thought of as a date. Tee hee, uh, no. Dr. H is always trying to hook students up, apparently.

His eyes are so sharp, and were directly on me when he hinted that Bob and I might be dating–again, watching my reactions, measuring how flustered and embarrassed I would get. And it really had nothing to do with Bob personally, other than the fact that I was taking orders from him–Dr. H was watching how quickly we moved away from each other, how stammered our responses were, etc. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for the first twenty years of his administration when he fought to bring in coeducation to Rose, because he is undoubtedly a cunning and shrewd businessman and leader. And I certainly respect that. I also respect the fact that he has so successfully built a persona that enables most students to never feel or even particularly perceive that side of him. But I don’t think he’s someone I would want to spend much time around; I don’t enjoy constantly guarding my reactions, or always feeling like I’m in a chess game of measured responses and carefully crafted body language.

I guess I’m just girly like that.

But the conversation he and his wife must have had after we left (she’s watchful, too), must have been damned interesting.