"Ooh there'll be extremely intelligent people here", I thought. "No more having to be bored during conversations so retarded that you want to claw your own eyes out with your bare hands", I thought. I even might have chuckled a little bit and rubbed my hands together (or not. but I could have). But this was three months back (or was it four?). Now, one term and a half later, numerous tests under my belt, jaded, weary and this close to being cynical, I have had to face up to the truth.
Grad school is nothing but one big, fat romp of a freak show. Freaks apparently abound in the corridors, pop out of fountains and lurk under the trees. There are (to be completely candid and scientifically detached about it) different levels of freakishness. Some are just severely socially retarded. Some are borderline normal (if you met them on the road you might even think "Awww how cute" and smile at them (but be warned. this is dangerous. hungry grad students should not be petted or smiled at. and all grad students are by definition hungry), or casually say "Have a good one" - shudder). And if you closed your eyes and pretended you were an arts major you might even believe they're normal (you'd have to close your eyes really tight, though).
I feel, you, my blogging public, requires a revue of these weirdos that populate my world (only for your own good, because I'm noble and selfless, not because I want to rant. the idea!). So, part 1 of the Who's Who of Freaksville. I introduce the One Who Scares Me (aka Nice Guy).
He is a nice guy. This is true. One of the nicest guys in class. One of the nicest guys I've met. Even, I'd go so far as to say (staking my integrity on this) that he's probably one of the nicest guys in the world. But people, people, a walking social disaster. It's not the sweatshirt that he's owned since the beginning of time and which smells distinctly of mothballs and some unidentified odor that I quail to investigate. It's not the unkempt hair which has seen neither scissors nor comb since it first sprouted out from the baby boy's bald head. Not even the mewing (he mews, apropos of nothing - which at least is normal because what could mewing be apropos of anyway unless you were talking to cats in an alley, behind a trash can) which is very unpredictable and can take you by surprise if you don't see it coming. I'd even go so far as to say it isn't the knocking over, tripping on, flailing hands into everything within a ten meter radius of Nice Guy. Lots of us sit at a coffee table and immediately knock over one glass of water, one cup of coffee, a chair and a newspaper in quick succession with fatal efficiency (well, not really, but maybe if you had some involuntary muscular contraction thing happening - one does not mock physical disabilities on this blog - ever). No, it's none of these things.
What it is, is the incessant, furious typing in class (furious as in the professors sometimes have to positively yell into their microphones to make themselves heard over the racket he makes), the ear phones in his ear playing music so loud that people 3 rows below and 3 rows above in a ten-seat-on-either-side bloc can hear Mana singing Perdito (I used to quite like the song. sigh) and worst of all his belief that everyone else is similarly endowed with blaring music and ergo, his screaming (yes, actual screaming) of comments about the lecture to the people sitting next to him, complacent in the belief that noone can hear him because (wait for it) he can't.
Once, I sat next to him. Never again. At one point the professor shone his laser beam at us and made comments about the 'bearded gentleman in the back who is typing what I'm sure are my lecture notes, furiously' (true story). I thought I'd die of sheer embarrassment (at least I hoped fervently I would) while Nice Guy through all of it (it felt like a lifetime, I'm reliably informed it was 20 seconds) didn't notice that the professor was highlighting his forehead with a red dot.
Course he didn't notice (what was I thinking). I fear I cannot get out of grad school unscathed. Really. A deep, disemboweling fear. Wait for the next parts. You haven't heard nothing yet. This should have been a Halloween launch (in all fairness to the grand tradition of Halloween) but I was battling with my fears about then (and visiting various shrinks for help, dear god). So, think of it as an honorary Halloween launch. We'll just have a Halloween party all by ourselves. Bring the punch, I'll bring the gossip.