The Learning Hall Chronicles
A student’s story
The halls of higher learning, like life, are often unfair, occasionally wacky and strange, but never dull. As I would discover early one morning in the spring, I remember the startled, often shocked, occasionally offended looks of the people who I reluctantly met, as I traveled up and down, while rocking back and forth, in my chair.
Let me explain how I came to be making their acquaintance.
It all began on a normal Wednesday morning, normal being the routine of classes, stacked on routine studying, followed by my steady diet of humiliation at the hands of every girl I even looked at, until that Wednesday morning.
A normal, hormone driven male, rejection didn’t seem to affect me as much back then, being more results oriented like a salesman, and living a numbers game, I was more concerned about the number of customers approached, then the number of negative responses.
So, optimism in hand, I put on my best smile, and left the dorm on my way to class, rounding a bush I glimpsed flowing red hair appearing from behind the bushes obscuring the walkway in front of me. I’m sure my smile brightened even more, when I realised it was Wendy of the sweet curves and disarming smile, despite her ignorance of my existence I decided I would say hi, at least that’s what I thought at the time.
“Good morning, Warren.”
I’m sure I muttered something, that I stood there and stared into unbelieving space, tongue locked in a frozen posture, unable to answer, then smiled in response.
She glanced at my books, “I’ve noticed you every morning on the way to class. Geophysics is it?”
I finally got my tongue in first gear, although I did grind it a bit. “Yeah, fascinated by nature, by the forces involved in the shaping of all we see.”
“You’re taking English studies, right?”
“You’ve been checking on me have you, maybe I’ve become interested in a stalker? Should I be running for the hills?”
“Probably, but the hills are along way away, maybe, you should just run back to the dorm instead?”
“Are you heading back to the dungeon?”
“Yeah, fourth floor, the one with the beer cans between the bars.”
“Yeah, I know the place, me and Cheryl were over there yesterday, talking to Greg about the party Friday night.”
“Greg Ogden, room 416, I believe? I’m just across the hall from him, in room 413.”
“Who’s having the party?”
“Cheryl and I are hosting the group at our room, well meet there before heading down to the student lounge to get the evenings festivities started.”
“You want to come? Sure why not, what will you be doing Friday anyway, other than wishing you were with me.”
“Thanks, Wendy. Sure I’ll come, I’m not much of a drinker, but I’d love to have a few drinks with you guys Friday night. After all, it will be my birthday.”
“You’re going to be a birthday boy on Friday. Perfect opportunity for us to get to know each other a little better, and we can celebrate your birthday at the same time.”
“Drop by Greg’s room on Friday night, about 8 o’clock. I’ll tell him to expect you.”
“Got to go, Professor Williams is already on my case as it is for being late. See you Friday birthday boy.”
The rest of the week is a bit of a blur, don’t remember much about the events, but then from the moment I realised I would be at a party on my birthday, with hordes of beautiful, willing, and available young women, all else kind of got pushed onto the back burner of my mind.
As I followed Greg through the door into heaven, I’m sure a smile was etched on my face, believing I had finally made it into the inner sanctum of the house of salvation, and was about to satiate my burning passion.
Someone put a beer in my hand, the devil, someone else made sure I always had one, his right hand man.
I faintly remember trying to drink nineteen beers to satisfy the jeers of my new friends, who seemed intent on celebrating my birthday in the traditional way for their crowd, by drinking one beer for every year of my life, the problem was my inability to match their prowess. This was complicated by the distance between each beer, one hundred meters, and my lack of personal experience with the subject matter in hand.
The last thing I remember, is hearing the number nine, bellowing from the blurred images lining my path as a stumbled forward toward Wendy holding a beer out for me to take.
The ground seemed to be moving when I awoke, downward, toward hell I remember thinking. My eyes didn’t respond to my orders to open at first, then when they did respond slightly, immediately clamped shut against the invading light leading the parade of metal drums and horns producing the pain lancing through my skull.
I thought I could hear shuffling feet, feel a presence close by, but thought it was probably my room mate Bill.
Bill’s voice is a little deeper, unless my ears have gone berserk.
“Should we call someone, security, maybe?”
“Na, he looks old enough to take care of himself, we are suppose to be adults you know.”
“You think maybe the furniture and clothing in the bathroom belongs to him?”
“I think you’re onto something there, girl.”
“Wendy and Cheryl had a party with some of the boys last night, he must be the fun.”
I was getting a very uncomfortable feeling to go along with my pain and desire to see all the alcohol in the world dumped into the universal toilet. Must be talking about another guy in the room, must be a lot of guys in the room, wherever I am?
I decided to attempt to move, but needed to open my eyes first, and this task was more then I could handle at that point. When I was able to open my eyes, the world of learning finally opened up to me, and I knew my place in it.
I knew a door had opened suddenly, I could hear them open and feel the cold air suddenly blanket my skin. I thought I was naked, at least it sure felt like it. So, I opened my eyes against the bright pain.
Standing in what appeared to be, and was, the doors to an elevator, I could see grins, taking in the scene before them, but which elevator and where?
The grins stepped lightly onto the elevator, surrounding me and my chair, which was situated in the center of the room.
“Have you girls seen the nude display, it’s a little small, but all too cute.”
“Was it done by a famous artist, like Leonardo?”
“One of the new breed of artists, the artistic pair of Wendy and Cheryl, another masterpiece, I’d say.”
Riding up was a breeze, riding down was even better, now that I could find my legs again. Hopefully somebody will hit me with a bat, next time someone asks me out. I’m sure it would hurt less in the end and I’d sleep much better.
Arriving back at my dorm room, my room mate just shook his head and went back to his studying, while I went out to find my bed, clothes, and other necessities, which turned out to be in the bathroom of the woman’s dorm.
Yes, one thing about the learning halls, you end up learning about life, love and many other things, which in many cases are just as important as science, math, and English.
I know one thing for sure, I haven’t looked at a bottle of beer, or beautiful women in the same context since that day and birthdays I celebrate with family or by myself, no invites.