The Normal One
edited: Sunday, October 21, 2007
By Leslie A Thompson
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, October 19, 2007
Become a Fan
Uncommon at the Commons
Published August 27, 2003
For the spectator of human nature there is no better place to observe the idiosyncrasies of fellow man than to sit outside the student center and simply watch the world limp by. I often find myself settling into a wrought iron chair, propping my feet up on a table littered with trash, pulling out several packs of cigarettes, and enjoying a long period of people watching and nicotine binging.
To say that people interest me is like saying that George W. Bush likes kicking ass. Well duh. Anyways, I'm sitting outside the student center, a cigarette in one hand, and a 20 oz. bottle of Coke in the other. As always, I'm looking out for interesting people to talk to whether they want to talk to me or not. Classes are ending so students are spilling out of the buildings, and onto the sidewalk like ants whose colony has suddenly become the target of a magnefying glass. Students make their way here and there. The bravest of them scurry out o their car, parked in a space so good that Betty Siegal would be jealous. They actually drive off as if expecting the space to be available when they get back for afternoon class. Those not quite so daring schlep their way to the student center.
Inside the student center, where the temperature id always comfortable, the herds are marking out territory. They tarry in narrow spaces talking loudly, and flailing their arms as if their caffiene high could actually cause spontaneous flight. These are the nly moments of inter herd relations. Once the herd hottie of the group brain shows up, everyone splits up and goes their own ways. They chow down on soggy pre-packaged subs, salads still tasting of pesticides and preservatives, and pizzas and chicken sandwiches roasted over an open heat lamp.
The "scholars" buy food, but generally find that they have no time for eating it. Instead they exchange memorized facts, and chug coffee and chow energy pills. Books are strewn across the table, and theirs is the table that empties twenty minutes before class starts. Their hobbies also seem to include hollering their GPAs at eat each other, trying to achieve caffeine-powered genius, and looking for validation while stalking rattled professors.
The "campus royalty," otherwise known as Daddy's Princess or Momma's Boys, are the children of upper-middle-class rich wanna bes. They drive shiny overpriced, poorly constructed sports cars, and wear designer labels. They are about as deep as a puddle and have about as many thoughts. They tend to be extremely well-groomed and lollipop thin (especially the princesses). Indeed, you will rarely see one of these people eating, which id probably why they're so easily agitated. They claim to avoid the outdoors because it will mess up the two hours worth of grooming (a habit shared by both the prioncess and the momma's boys) but I suspect that windy days are avoided due to the threat of blowing away at the slightest breeze.
The "anxious students" are typically freshmen straight out of high school, and have suddenly realized what true angst really is. They sit in small groups in the bright sunlight, wearing black and chain-smoking. They shiver constantly like the taco bell dog dropping acid, and have their hands balled in their pockets like they're clutching mace.
The "philosophers" are a laid back herd that pride themselves in their ability to quote the classical minds like Socrates, Pluto, and Aristotle. They like to surround themselves with a shroud of enigma and suspicious smoke. They dress in shabby clothes and eat an alarming amount of health food. As a result of their dietary habits, most other students do their best to keep upwind of them. They spent a lot of time hanging out, and trying to convince everyone else that they do in fact know what they think they know. They are often in the company of one or two conspiracy theorists who see corrupt government everywhere, but have never seen the inside of a voting booth.
Amidst all of this there are a few herdless individuals. Some of them are watchers. They lurk in shadows, and bear the demeanor of someone in desperate need of anti-psychotics and a good therapist. There are anti-socials who simply don't give a crap. These loners get along with everyone, but no one knows it. The non-bathers are a rather groovey crowd if you can stand the smell, and the desperate are desperately avoided.
I mash out my final cigarette and pick up the pack and take a peek in. I cringe as I realize that I'd smoked almost enough cigarettes to put myself in an iron lung. I pack up my things and start for my battered Pontiac. I wave at aquaintances as they duck their heads and hurry past.