Yes, we met the autodidact polymath Richard Orlandini. I shall write more about him in another post for the reason I’ll give later.
But briefly: I saw a guy in the periodical room of the OLL when we arrived there on Monday who I thought was Orlandini, but didn’t disturb him. When he came out into the bigger space, it clearly was the guy on the book cover minus the big hat. I introduced myself and he wanted to sit right down and talk. And how we did.
Over maybe a couple of hours we talked about archaeological stuff (I’m faking it here), markets, the politics and the excitement for a leftist of the 2006 uprisings, the current weather pattern (also exciting, with the hurricanes having dumped a whole year’s worth of rain the last two weeks), his cancer, his stained fingers, the consequence not of cigarettes (though he did need a smoking break, saying “they aren’t going to kill me”), but of harvesting pecans this week with his landlord.
A wide-ranging chat; William and I loved all of it.
The reason to write more later was that he has invited us to Mitla, the site of his major archeological work. I think there would not be a better guide. We will schedule that early next week with a call to him. His fee, he announced, will be lunch at his favorite restaurant.
He said pain was getting to him, took a morphine pill and packed his bulging sack of books to go. (The limit for members is six books at a time; he and the staff ignore that.) Among the books he told us was a book on master chess players’ moves, or however you say that, and how that has improved his game. Learning new things, always.
Charmingly, this regular person (oh, I’m sure he is one; I’m just still a bit dazzled) could not find his reading glasses when he got up to go.