I grew up in the far northeast heights. I went to a high school that was named for a mythical city which supposedly was made from gold and precious jewels.
Some of the faculty was similarly quirky and exceptional. James Murdoch, the history teacher, wore a flat top and dressed in woolen suits during the winter. He had taught at the same school for years and years, though he had Ivy League cred.
Anyway, when Murdoch discovered that I had enlisted a few of my trusted peers to attend a meeting of the Young Socialists Alliance at UNM, had also and nefariously been seen at the local communist bookstore near Central and Maple, the name of which I cannot remember (probably from embarrassment or disappointment, the place was dark and shabby, in recollection), he asked to have a word with me, after class.
At first he spoke in technical terms, testing my knowledge of the nomenclature and theory, saying things such as, “a socialist, eh?" and "Fabian or revolutionary, Mr. Carrillo, Fabian or revolutionary?"
Murdoch suddenly stopped stopped his inquisitive discourse and walked to the door, which faced towards the east, towards Tramway Boulevard. He opened it and said measuredly, with only a hint of awe in his voice, “So this is what you believe in...all this material, material that you believe to be the basis for everything, and ultimately the only thing perceivable in a measurable universe...you’re a materialist, eh?”
Then he sat and his desk and was quiet. An early springtime gust blew through the door and there were kids outside laughing and joking as they passed by and I could hear them.
Of course I tried not to listen to what he had to say, about the intricacy of human life and perception and experience and all of that. I tried to act aloof and disinterested, but what the old man said crept up on me, and got me to thinking about the unfathomable wonder of the universe, something I had to admit Marx neglected to talk about in his writings.
Ten years later, I happened to pass through the Furr’s supermarket on Carlisle and Constitution. At that time, I had just taken leave of a post at UNM, in order to travel the world with my dear friend Kirsty, a British exchange student I met the previous year. I was at that Furr’s taking one last look at bountiful plenty, before plunging into the chaotic and impoverished world that lay beyond all the material and comfort to which I had become accustomed. I encountered James Murdoch in the dairy section.
“Not so much, I said, but am of that influence. It's quite complicated, you know. I went hiking that day you lectured me and thought a lot about what you said. I am still thinking about it."