wow, that was awkward

As is happens, I have recently decided to make my study of literature a private endeavor. Meaning: I dropped my English class. It was a quaint little class titled “The Epic,” was co-taught by a medievalist and a modernistic and was populated by hipsters, art connoisseurs, budding philosophers, aspiring poets, endearing slackers, one civil engineer, and me.

I dropped it after reading Iliad, Odyssey and Aeneid, after grappling with weeks of abstract lectures, and after a heated discussion with my roommate which primarily consisted of me changing my mind about whether or not to drop the class every couple of seconds and her generally agreeing with me each time. It all ended two hours before the drop deadline-when I finally brought myself to push the little button with the simple yet profound message: “Drop Class.”

So after a lengthy and pseudo-philosophical blog post about the interconnectedness of humanities and sciences, I have willingly severed one of my ties to the humanitarian world. Welcome to the dark side. Does this mean I get a red lightsaber?

But hear me out. While reading those venerable epics, I shuddered at the destruction of the Trojan war, I marveled at the strangeness of Odysseus’ journey, I felt the depth of Dido’s rage as she cursed Aeneas and all of Rome. I could truly hear the magic of the poetry and see the foundations of the western tradition taking shape before my eyes. Sitting in the ungainly tropical heat of the lecture hall while the kid in front of me fell asleep and the professor told stories about his mother, all of the wonders I had discovered on my own were flattened out into bland academic abstractions. I ultimatley decided that the class was not enriching my experience with the poems, and I would be better off experiencing The Inferno (the next text on the reading list) on my own.

Dropping this class means I don’t think I will be an English major. But dropping this class has also made me realize that I don’t need to be an English major to be a student of literature and a writer. Whew.

So, what about the awkward part, you ask? Let me dramatize it for you (I do so adore the theater). And guess what: it takes place in a bathroom.

Scene: Third Floor Wheeler Hall bathroom. You now, the one that looks straight out of Harry Potter with the porcelain sinks gathered at the center of the room and marble-walled stalled enclosed by hefty wooden doors.

I enter the bathroom, there washing her hands is the female professor (the medevalist) from “The Epic” I dropped the class and I haven’t been there in a week. She eyes me as I walk by and enter a stall.

Me: (Internal monologue) What do I say? Do I say hello, or do I tell her I dropped the class because she probably think I am a deadbeat who has been missing lecture. She probably doesn’t even recognize me, maybe? Godness, I hope she’s not still there when I come out.

I exit the stall, and much to my dismay, she is still there.

silence persists.

Me (without saying hello or anything): Sorry I dropped your class. You know, “the Epic”.

Prof: …

Me: It was just too much, I am a Physics Major (and apparently a liar) and I couldn’t do it.

Prof: oh, that’s ok. (laughs)

Me: It wasn’t you (true: it was the other prof.) or the class (again with the lies!) It was a great class (my nose is growing!) I was wondering, if I am still doing the reading, would it be alright if I showed up a t lectures sometimes?

Prof: Sure! Of course! (she really is a very nice person).

Me: Thanks! (doh!)

Prof. walks out the door. I am left alone and very socially awkward in the Harry Potter Bathroom.
END SCENE. and career in the English Department.


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