Second Day of the Semester

by Jonah

It was hard to get up this morning. Whatever excitement I had yesterday
didn’t keep up with 8 a.m. Thursday. I even listened to the idiots on the
radio jabber, rather than exit my warm cocoon. But after a cup of coffee
(half of which is now in the passenger seat by way of a quick turn on the way
to school) and a couple of chapters of Jack London’s _Sea Wolf_ on tape, I
was ready for the day. It was a beautifully cold, damp, miserable type of
day, the day that automatically puts me in a good mood. I even greeted
people I knew far too cheerfully as I walked all the way across campus after
parking near the trailers and then remembering my first class was in the
library. Paul had an empty seat next to him around the round table type
classroom, so I plopped my bookbag down. He made some comment about
unfortunately not having much say on where I sat, but I knew he didn’t mind.

Karen came in to Hermeneutics later, so that, as she pointed out afterward,
we were the only two girls in the class. “Let’s argue the rabid feminist
stance!” she urged as she, Paul, Mashburn, and I sat around after everyone
else had left. “God is a She!” I exclaimed. “Whether we believe it or not,”
she went on, “we’ll tick them off!”

Walking over to the other building for Karen to get her caffeine fix from a
coke machine, I told her about the “American Myth” reading club/directed
study Allums and Schaefer and Mashburn are doing with us. “I want to!” she
exclaimed, “Can I?” “Ask Paul,” I shrugged. “I have no say in this,” Paul
kept insisting. “So can I come?” “Yes,” I finally decreed, “You can come.”
“So what happened to Bitter Greg?” asked Karen. She and Maynard made up
names for all the people in God and Suffering last semester. There was
“Genius Paul,” “Jonah,” “Fat Religion Guy in the Back.” But none of us had
seen Greg. “I don’t even know if he’s coming back,” I said, “He was tired
with school.” “He was tired with school,” agreed Mashburn, nodding sadly,
“He needs to be in an environment where he can say whatever he wants.”

I didn’t have anything to do for the next couple hours, so I accompanied Paul
to his Old Testament class. “I’m not in this class,” I said to Dr. Berry as
we entered the room late and he handed Paul a syllabus. “I beg to differ,”
he retorted, “You ARE in this classroom.” There wasn’t much to it, like all
other classes yesterday and today, just collecting and scanning syllabi.

Paul debated afterward whether to eat or buy books in the time left before
his next class at one. Like any good student, he chose the bookstore.
Rounding a corner in the lobby of Weaver, who should we see but… “Greg!”
we both shouted, each taking a hand and shaking it warmly. The recipient of
our attention shrugged, smiled slightly, and began philosophizing in his
Kentucky speed of speech. “I have to register,” he said, “What should I put
for my major? ‘Cause it don’t matter what I put, it’ll be somethin’
different on my diploma.” “Philosophy,” I said. “No, I was thinkin’ bout
somethin’ obscure that NO ONE would pick. Like fish harvesting in
Nicaragua.” That is, incidently, a real class offered at the Nicaraguan
campus. “What should I take?” he asked me. I flipped through my catalog and
pointed out things he might like, Con Law, Presidency and Congress, Russian
Lit, Hebrew Bible Thought. “Photography,” he said, “I wanna major in that.”
“You could take ceramics,” I suggested. “Ceramics?” “Yeah, make pots and
stuff. I’m in there.” “You’re taking it?” he laughed, “That’d be fun.”
Paul still had to buy books, so he left. Greg said he’d come to the
conclusion that nothing mattered. “But, you’re here,” I pointed at Weaver’s
tile floor.

I told him I’d started C.S. Lewis’ _The Great Divorce_. Greg said he’d
finished Camus’ _The Stranger_ over break, “I liked the guy. I wanted him to
die. But I wanted him to accept death, deal with it.” “I thought he
deserved to die, even though he wasn’t evil.” “No passion.” “That’s it! He
didn’t have any passion. He didn’t love anything. Lust and annoyance,
that’s all. And that’s what he died with, lust for life.” “Yeah! But,
that’s all life IS!” “Then what’s it matter?” I asked him. “What DOES
matter?” he asked, “What’s one thing that matters?” I was halfway out the
door, on my way to class, “It’s about love. In a cosmic sense.”

We ran into Karen coming in as we went out. That waylaid my advance to class
even more. Though almost all of the same people who were in Presidency and
Congress were also in Constitutional Law, they’d left the front of the room
vacant. I sat in the front, just left of the middle, seat, in front of
Melissa Lindquist, who was in turn in front of Tracy. The classroom was very
quiet, but then the three of us started talking about stuff. Schaefer ran
straight into lecturing, talking about the Articles of Confederation and
saying our first Supreme Court brief was due on Tuesday. Afterward, Tracy
asked me if was auditioning today. “Today? I guess so.” “Auditions are
open this time,” she said, “The thing is that so many of the majors aren’t
going to be available for The Doctor in Spite of Himself. So we’re desperate
for actors.”

So I showed up in the theater room after getting my syllabus from Ceramics.
Mrs. Kellum had us do a bunch of warm up exercises and then do things like
say, “My name is , and I am not happy about it,” making a
movement with our bodies each time we said a syllable and other
non-script-reading activities. Then Stephen and Sherrea, who are directing
_Ladies of the Camilias_, had guys and girls read different parts to that play.
I was pretty happy with mine. My “guy” was Maynard, who is incredibly
talented. I dunno if I’ll get a part or not. There are three plays they’re
putting on this semester all together, so I at least have a shot. But if
not, I’m sure I can use the extra free time! Like I have any anymore.
Finally got home around 6.

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