Monday, April 26, 2004

I sat in a secluded corner of the student union with my book. I had purposefully distanced myself from the rest of the room in order to study for my exam the next morning. My seclusion was sadly short lived when only moments later I looked up to see the group of Them making a beeline across the room to where I sat. I had seen Them when I walked into the room, and I thought I had successfully avoided any conversation with Them. Nevertheless, They were determined to talk to me anyway.

I decided to put on my politely friendly face for Them, even though They all stood around me and stared with silly smiles on Their faces. I politely answered Their questions about what I was doing (how many possibilities are there if a person is sitting alone reading a book?), and where I was from, and even smiled at the exact same joke They made about the word 'Sequim' the time before. I even smiled through the slight pause in the conversation when normal people take the hint and say their goodbyes.

I must confess however, that my patience eventually ran out. I had tried unsuccessfully to drop all the subtle socially polite hints that ask a person to leave, and They had picked up on none of them. So with a gracious and polite smile, I said "I don't mean to be rude, but I really have to study for this exam. Thanks for stopping by, though." To my disbelief, it They still stood there for another moment, as my meaning slowly sunk in. Yes, I really did want them to move on with their lives away from my table.

They finally took their leave, wishing me luck on my exam. In reality, I do feel bad for having to be so blunt with people. I really do enjoy talking with fellow students and getting to know new people, yet at the same time I do expect some social common sense from these fellow students. Perhaps a freshman level class should be developed along those lines: Social Skills 101, The Art of Social Graces and Subtleties in College.


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