After reading this post, you may be skeptical of the fact that it sounds a little like someone giving a testimony about their hairy cat or a story from the New Era about someone who found that the cashier at a store ten miles back had given them an extra nickel and how they walked ten miles back over brambles and icy snow to return the nickel. If these stories bother you, I'm sorry, because mine might resemble one of them, minus nickels, cats, snow, and a pulpit. And minus a cheesily-laid-out youth magazine.
That being said, something very wonderful and touching and mysterious oogly-boogly-good-feeling happened yesterday and I wanted to tell you about it.
I'm in PS100, Physical Science, right now. This semester. It's very hard to pay attention when there aren't any words--just pictures. Pictures of little bulbs connected to each other with pluses and minuses inside them. If you've seen about two-thirds of my Facebook stati, you will have noticed that I moan and groan about all that a lot. Science is something that I've never found interesting. Luckily, we've got TAs assigned to us. There are 180 people in the class and we're split up into different labs, which we skulk to on Thursdays. In these labs the merciful TAs (at least, mine's merciful) do the homework for us, give us a pat on the back, and hope that someday we will have the basic understanding that they do. I take comfort in the fact that while my TA may be younger than me AND know all the secrets of the universe, I could hopefully crank out a paper on Toni Morrison about ten times as fast as him. I try to take comfort in that. And he has a shnooky little goatee. Not allowed! Why does he get one?
Last Thursday was a jumbled-up day. That morning I swore to myself that I wouldn't miss my lab, because there were three worksheets to do, and on my own, I'd be useless towards completing them besides signing my name and ID number at the top. And then science would frighten me all weekend. I got a nine out of 30 on my last test, so I'm needing all the free homework points I can get. Unfortunately, Thursday, I missed the lab. I had a paper due in another class that was worth way more points comparatively, and I managed my time badly, so, I just missed the lab. And avoided falling into the pit of despair by choosing to congratulate myself for at least finishing the other paper.
Conveniently, and as usual, I completely forgot about the worksheets until about 9:00 yesterday morning. They were due at 5 pm. This weekend has not been an easy one, not a weekend you exactly feel like curling up and doing your homework in the middle of. Yesterday afternoon, after scolding my embarrassed, science-challenged self into it, I skulked into the open lab where you can always ask for help (hyuck hyuck!) and shrank into a corner while one of the TAs I recognized from my class explained the worksheet to ten or fifteen people. Now, folks, let me tell you--this weekend was the weekend to beat all weekends. Everything turned out fine, OK, very nicely, thank heavens, but it was one of those weekends that kind of strips you raw along the edges and rubs those edges along a piece of emotional sandpaper so by the time the weekend is over you're left kind of feeling around numbly with a couple of fingers to make sure you can see where you're going. After great pain, a formal feeling comes, and your nerves sit ceremoniously like tombs. Or whatever it is.
Sooooo by the time I got to my lab yesterday, it was a hundred thousand degrees outside, my face was sweating, I'd been gulping back something all day, and I was just feeling around with those couple of thawing fingers to see if I could snatch a TA for long enough to whisper to them that I didn't understand my homework so that I could quiver off of campus and sit down and sigh and smile and be calm. Sitting there, listening to the girl try and explain everything to everyone, I felt overwhelmed and wanted to go sit in a Humanities building and wrap my arms around myself. I knew that if I just tried harder and didn't miss classes and read the chapters three times each, I would do much better, but at that moment I just decided to give up and go bury myself in the corner of my bed with some Judy Blume. Or something.
About .0000000002 seconds before I was about to get up and leave without turning in my undone homework, a boy sat down next to me and smiled. I sighed. Seriously, not today. Seriously don't hit on me. Seriously don't. He was short and wearing a red plaid short-sleeved button-up shirt and light jeans. He was holding his worksheets and essay question between his two hands very lightly.
[nods at the blank worsheets sitting on my lap] "Did you finish your worksheets, then?"
"No...yeah...I actually, unfortunately, I missed my lab last week. I was sppssspspppspspspsppsppspspsppspsppspsppsppsps" (I proceed to give him a stuttering summary of how I always miss my labs and how I never, ever remember to do homework, and then a tiny bit about this last weekend and how everything is going to be fine, it was just a long one and I'm embarrassed and red because a monkey can pass PS100)
"Well...[holds out his worksheets to me] you know, the TAs just do these for us anyways, and if you missed the lab, really, there's no way for you to do the experiments, so you can copy mine. They're all done."
I stared at him, unbelieving. He must be an Honor Code police officer. Maybe not? My saver. Who is this person. Halleluljah.
"You want to copy them?"
All done in perfect handwriting. What in the world was someone who's done and doesn't need help doing in the lab?
I gulped and nodded, my eyes swimming in those silly uncontrollable tears that usually only come out when your mom asks you if you're OK or when you see a cute dog or some quail crossing the street. Really, they were swimming. How wonderful of this random person to show up just now. He smiled and held each worksheet in turn in the thin air next to my lap while I copied his answers down with my head bent, and when I was done, he shook my hand, told me good luck, told me his name, I stood up, I turned my homework in, and I left the room.
Whoever you are, Freddy (that was his name), thank you. I feel a lot of gratitude towards you. Thanks for showing up.