To understand this story, let me first explain the setting. I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life. In this area, there are a lot of Hispanics. Mexican culture is pretty big here, and a lot of people in my classes grew up in houses with Spanish speaking parents. There is always a good chance that any given person you meet is bilingual.
I had a Biology Lab class around 8AM. On the first day of class, I arrived a little early, and surveyed the room. The desks were arranged in three columns, with two people per desk. I found the cutest girl in class, and chose the empty seat right next to her.
Damn she was attractive. She had long dark hair, and eyes that always seemed a little sleepy (a look that I favored). It was always pretty cold in the mornings, and as a result, I later noticed, she would often come to class wearing hoodies, tight fitting yoga pants, and boots. (She had the most amazing ass- but I’m getting sidetracked here.)
We were at the same desk, which naturally meant that we were going to be lab partners. We had a lab to do the very first day, it was mainly easy practice stuff though to get to know the equipment. At one point we were filling a beaker to a certain point with water. We used a water squirter bottle to put some water in the beaker, but we accidentally filled it too high.
“Oh damn-” I whispered, as I tried to tip a little water out of the beaker into the desk sink. I accidentally tipped too much out, so now we were below the target. I filled it up again, but now we were above the target once more.
The girl smirked a little, and picked up the beaker to give it a shot herself this time. She, like me, accidentally poured too much out and refilled it again.
“Let’s just use this thingy,” she suggested whimsically, picking up an eyedropper.
“Oh yeah! That’s a good idea,” I commended her.
I watched her face as she slowly sunk to eye-level with the indicated milliliter line. Pensively, she pinched the eyedropper and slowly let it expand until it was perfect. This beguiling look of sweet satisfaction arose upon her face. I knew that if I got to do every lab with this girl, this would be my favorite class this semester for sure.
On the second class, I was as anticipatory as ever. I sat next to my girl again, at the same desk. The teacher announced that we were going to sign the permanent seating chart that day, and I was in the perfect position.
I listened to the teacher go on about whatever we were doing that day, as the chart made its way through the class. When it came to me, I had to double take five times to make sure I was reading it correctly.
In my seat was some random female’s name. I was honestly stumped. This is the point where I made my fatal mistake; Immediately after I did it, I knew I could have done 1,000 other things that would have been better. I could have passed it back to where it came from, and told the previous writer “I think you made a mistake.” I could have just scribbled out or erased the name and wrote my own name in the place. I could have waved the paper in the air and yelled “YO, WHO DA FUCK IN MY SPOT?” I could have just written nothing all, even that would have been better than what I did…
I didn’t know if we were allowed to write our names in any spot we chose, or if we were supposed to sign where we were sitting. If someone else consciously chose my spot, and they were allowed to do it because it was a first-come-first-served deal, then the only thing I would accomplish by making a scene about it is creating an awkward situation. If it was someone’s mistake, however, then I would lose everything by not bringing it to someone’s attention.
I looked around, everyone was just watching the teacher. I was too much of a faggot to want to tap someone on the shoulder, see who made a mistake (if someone did), or whisper “hey, psst!” I just retreated and wrote my name in the spot next to where I was sitting (the spot where my girl was sitting).
I handed it over to her, she was just as confused as I was. She flipped the paper around a few times and turned to me.
“Is this right?” she whispered to me.
“I think someone stole my spot,” I whispered back.
“I don’t want to steal someone else’s spot…” she noted, looking around the room. She wrote something on the paper, and passed it along.
The next class, I sat at the regular desk, and my girl sat at a different desk, to the left side of me. The other seat at my desk remained empty. This makes me believe that someone in some other desk actually did make a mistake on the seating chart, and believed that they had signed their name to whatever spot they were actually at.
The now-empty spot next to me ended up being filled by a girl who was absent during the day we filed out the seating chart. The new girl was a nice person, but her personality was a contrast to my own. Every chance I got, I would wistfully stare at the first girl, and wonder how the time-line would have differed if I had done something differently that fateful day when the seating chart was passed around.
Enter Ismael. When I first saw him, I thought that there was no way him and I had anything in common. He would often wear a green cap, and he had an air of laid-back confidence about him. He was seated one desk behind mine.
It was early in the semester when one of our labs was to get into three groups (based on the column our desk was in) and race goldfish through troughs at different temperatures. I volunteered to be my group’s “fish wrangler,” which meant that I was in charge of transporting the fish to and from the trough and fish tank. I was supposed to bring over 10 fish for our team. I didn’t want the fish to be in any unnecessary discomfort, so I tried to use the net to scoop them into their transportation beaker while they were still underwater. This was taking too long, and I only ended up with one goldfish.
Ismael came over smirking.
“Dude, what are you even doing? Here, let me show you how it’s done, I’ve transported fish before. Watch, I bet I’ll get them all in one try.”
I was taken aback, “alright, let’s see how you do it,” I thought to myself.
With minimal effort, he just dragged the net through the tank with disregard. He put the net over the transportation beaker, and pushed the fish through with his hands. He was right, he had gotten ten fish on his first scoop. He still wanted to keep the first fish that was caught by me though, because he had already named it.
I came to find out over the following weeks that he and I had almost the exact same sense of humor. One day in class, we were going over DNA, and the teacher was in the middle of explaining, “…as you can see here, the structure of DNA is twisted…”
From out of nowhere, I hear Ismael offhandedly say behind me almost in a whisper, “get twisteeeed!” I don’t know why, but for some reason that just had me cracking up the whole day.
The course of the semester ended up being one long crazy ride. One time we were doing a demonstration on natural selection, where we collected beans scattered in some grass, and placed them in cups using different utensils, and whoever didn’t collect enough beans ‘died.’ I was halfway to my cup, carefully balancing this large bean on a fork, when Ismael came over with his fork and hit the bean right off of mine. “Oh, damn you!” I yelled. We both laughed.
Another time, we were checking out different model skeletons around the room, and I wanted to scare my lab partner. I placed the human skeleton model’s hand on top of her head to surprise her. It worked, but unfortunately, her hair got caught in the skeleton’s joints and the hand would not come off.
I felt so bad; I said “wait wait wait, I got this, hold still a second… okay you’re good. No wait! Hold up, okay now I actually got it.”
I had my share of turns as the butt of the joke as well. I was preparing some microscope slides, and the teacher had told us to use slide covers. I put some liquids or some plants on a slide, and I noticed that there were two types of materials in the slide box. One was the slides themselves, and the other was these square shaped wax paper sheets, the slide covers. I put a cover on my slide, and tried to see it under the microscope, but everything was blurry. I made all the right adjustments, but could not get a clear picture. I called the professor over to help, and she saw my slide and said “no wonder you can’t see anything, you’ve got this piece of trash blocking your view!”
“Wait, you mean that’s not the slide cover?” I asked. As it turned out, either someone had hid the slide covers, or some idiot(s) had used too many, and they were all gone by the time I went to get one.
The professor tried feebly to contain an outburst of laughter. The noise drew Ismael over, who saw what had happened and joined in the jesting. He ripped on me for weeks about that one.
Anyway, the course was winding to a close. I still liked the girl from the first day, but I didn’t know how to talk to her. Some days I’d wait outside of class a few minutes before it started, so I could watch her as she entered. At some point, I somehow decided in my mind that I should write “you’re cute” or “I like you” on a paper, fold it into an airplane, and toss it at her before or after class. I made the airplane, and waited a table she normally passed by on the way to class, but I couldn’t get the courage to toss it at her, so that plan was a flop.
On one of the last class sessions, I was just chilling, sitting and chatting with my buddy Ismael. The topic of our conversation was the different types of foods we liked and disliked.
It was in the middle of a lab that the class had been set loose to do at their own pace. A few other groups of people were sitting and chatting as well while they were waiting for people to finish using certain lab stations or what have you. One of the groups that was chatting was three Hispanic girls at the desk to my left, one of them being the girl I liked from the first day of class.
“Well if there’s one food I absolutely hate,” I explained to Ismael, “it’s avocados.”
Right after I said that, the girl at the next desk over, whom I liked, quickly said something in Spanish. Her and her two friends then giggled.
I wasn’t really paying attention to them, and I assumed that whatever was said was just part of their conversation. Ismael, however, lifted his head like a startled meerkat; He turned around to face the direction of the girls for a second, and then turned back to me.
I could deduce that something interesting had been said, so I asked him “what’d they say?”
“She said you- nah, never mind dude it was nothing. Anyway what’s really good is when you make home-made rice crispy treats and add…”
I didn’t press the issue, but I was pretty sure the girl said something about me. I felt a little flustered and abashed but somehow I really liked the feeling. Thinking about it after the fact, I realized that I’ve always liked being embarrassed by attractive girls, in fact I’d often, consciously or not, set myself up for that kind of situation. The sensation it produces doesn’t have a name, I could not describe it to you if you’ve never felt it, because it is not comparable to any other emotion, it’s just spectacular… and THAT’S why I’m a fuckin’ weirdo!
I never found out the name of that girl I liked.