I take a moment to notice the outfits of the people walking by. Call it a pastime for someone who’s really good at noticing things. On rare occasions you find someone who truly looks good, but today it’s the usual spill.
Dude in a navy sweater vest.
Girl in black leggings and a long sleeve t-shirt three times her size.
Fraternity bro in a New U mascot sweater.
Being honest, I would go to blows with anyone who says we don’t have the strangest mascot of all the colleges. Technically, we’ve always been known as the NCU Fighting Turtles, and there was a biped tortoise as the mascot. The issue came up a few years ago, though, that a certain large university over on the east coast also has an anthropomorphized turtle as a mascot. And if we ever wanted to get our football program off the ground, we might want to go with something a little more, well, menacing. So, New U’s crack team of marketers, graphic artists, and PR professionals came up with… a glowing sea turtle. Apparently it was a big deal that scientists, including one from New U’s biology department, discovered this fluorescent neon red and green turtle off the coast of the Solomon Islands. Now we have this super-cartoony bioluminescent amphibian that looks like it was designed by an eight-year-old on our logo. It gets worse. They let the dude who discovered him name him.
Apricot the Glowing Sea Turtle.
And that is one of many reasons I really miss my old school at home in Jacksonville, the one where I did my undergrad. ACU was more of a concrete jungle than, well, an actual jungle. A shrine to urban education. For every pine thicket here, there was a city street. For every lake, a high rise. Some may call Iowa a paradise, and while I like the fresh, crisp air, what I don’t like here are the people. I had friends, an abundance of them. I was that college kid you see in all the movies. Pretty, sarcastic, quirky, a bit of a flirt. I liked my lattes, my short skirts… and my boys. Maybe one too many of them, if I’m being honest. I had a big ego, but really, what girl doesn’t in college? I was having fun.
…holding Millie back from her full potential?
I was “smart” back then, and I even graduated magna cum lade. Aced all my tests, and I barely ever studied. I didn’t even worry about spending my days writing essays, because I knew I could just stay up all night the day before they were due to get them done. It’s not procrastination if you’re good enough to make an A in eight hours of work. Graduate schools from all over were sending me emails begging me to apply. So, why oh why did I choose to hit the reply button on this one? I could have gotten a liberal arts degree anywhere.
New U? I’ll take the old me back, thank you.
Destination in sight, I continue with my observations.
Girl who looks like a kid in overalls – ugh, who brought those back into style?
Female professor in a black pantsuit. She seems interesting.
Cute guy in a red and black shirt kind of resembling a lumberjack.
Girl in a purple tank top and shorts? What the hell? It’s like – I look at the semi-accurate temperature on my Cheap Stupid Watch – 46 degrees.
She’s walking towards me, and I’ve become the master of peripheral vision. As she brushes by, I get a closer look, where the truth is revealed. I see small chill bumps all the way up and down her pale arms, concentrated especially near her shoulders. I’ll bet she’s trying to impress somebody. I look again at my CSW, but this time not to check the time or date. Instead, I’m looking at its reflective surface, attempting to determine more information about this girl. There’s a Canadian flag patched onto her grey, heavy duty backpack above her initials, BCD.
I think I understand now. These are the types of things we do for social acceptance. Everyone in BCD’s classes know she’s from Canada. She probably makes a big deal about it being “so hot” here in Iowa in the summer. That’s how she gets popular and makes a lot of friends. Then, when the chilly days roll around and the thermometer hovers around freezing, she’s got to keep up the act, or risk losing the relationships she’ll probably shed anyway once she starts a career. I honestly don’t know how she survived the winter. What BCD doesn’t realize is that the genetic code for someone from Ontario isn’t much different than someone from Florida, like me. Below 50 degrees is sweater weather no matter where you go.
This is all an assumption of course. She may have just forgotten her coat. It was, after all, like 70 degrees earlier this week.
I’m climbing the massive steps outside of Elmore Hall to the third floor, students quizzing each other with flashcards on either side. The jumbled voices are annoying me for some reason. I clinch my fist in anger, though I’m not quite sure about the source of that animosity. Maybe I’m just in a really bad mood. I reach the entrance and find the third, no make that forth, door on the left.
…what the hell did she mean, holding her back?
“Brace yourself. Winters is coming,” I hear from the most loserly voice of that group of students in the back. Screw you Brad. You and your stupid fedora. Don’t you know that fedoras were over a long time ago, and wearing one now automatically makes you an asshole?
“Ms. Winters,” comes a voice from the podium in the front of the room. It’s our beloved Graduate Program Advisor. Well, at least according to all the other students. They worship the ground he walks on. Or maybe they’re just kissing his boots. Especially Brad. Screw you Brad.
“Yes Dr. Lewis?”
“You were supposed to be here at least ten minutes early.”
“I’m sorry Dr. Lewis.”
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