Three weeks into the Fall 2015 semester and five minutes into the day’s class, a new student trudged into my senior seminar.
“Are you signed up?” we asked.
“Have been since last semester,” he answered, and glanced demurely at the notes on his neighbor’s desk. The professor had gone to retrieve something from his office. “We already finished a book, didn’t we?”
We nodded. He sighed, scratching the back of his neck.
“Just had two surgeries,” he said, “and it’s my girlfriend’s birthday, so right after this I gotta book it to New York. I missed the first sessions and used up all my absences in every single class.”
“So, you know,” he continued, “life is good.”
Hi, so, I don’t know what to do with my life.
“Could you please punch in your Student ID?”
Yeah. Wait, sorry, that was my social. Okay.
“Well, it looks like you’re doing great in all your classes! You could really do anything.”
“What have you been thinking about?”
I mean… I came in thinking about Linguistics. I like language and it’s really satisfying to solve problems in 201, but I don’t know what I’d do with the major.
“Hmm… You’re doing pretty good in Japanese, too! Are you enjoying that class?”
Sure? I like learning anything, really. Except math. An unfortunate class in middle school convinced me that I’m Not Good at it. So I gave up on computer science or engineering early on. …Does infotech have math?
“You should ask the School of Communication and Information Sciences.”
Well, I checked out the site. It looks okay. Everything looks okay, really. I’m just not particularly passionate about anything.
“What subject did you enjoy the most in high school?”
Why does that make me feel stupid?
I’ve kind of been dreading this.
Add to the list of things that I would call my favorite: my niecephews (the word is “niblings,” apparently).
It took two kids falling on my shoulder and wrestling with video games to hit the realization that people who love you are warm. My hands and feet are perpetually cold, so I like that very much.
Overheard in the Student Center, on the way to the bathroom for the third time that hour: “I love my mooing keychain. It’s the little things.”
I laughed. I love accidental glances and moments shared with kind strangers, like hearing conversations out of context or hopping into one uninvited, but still being appreciated. I’ve always thought HONY has an insight into the peopleness of people; that one thing that we all share in common all over the world, the empathy link between me and you and among everyone else. There’s a genuine charm in peopleness that there just isn’t in the inside jokes that have you rolling on your stomach with laughter.
It’s my favorite.
Although I don’t like the word “favorite.” It’s weak. It feels singular. I don’t have one best friend, or one favorite color, or one favorite feeling. I’d rather you ask what colors I like than which one I like the most, unless you want to hear me say “It depends.”
So for tonight, here are some things that I love and like and would probably call my favorite.
In May 2013, I got myself a nose piercing.
“Ready to impress suitors?” one of my aunts asked, half-joking, half-serious.
“Ready to impress myself,” I said.