Ever had commiseration unrequited? Like you’re dieting and you smile at the dieter next to you also chewing on a celery stalk while your counterparts are biting into something delightful like Chocolate Mud Pie, and you turn to them and say, Ugh dieting bites! To which they smile and respond, Really? I love celery! Dieting is fun!
Sometimes when I’ve been studying too long in one spot I hop over to Starbucks which, despite the hype, isn’t very student friendly. The tables are tiny and teetering and you can barely balance a book. But there is one table, the coveted table large enough to strew all your books casually across and still have space for your laptop. In my local Starbucks that spot is typically coveted by two: Me and Chipper Med Student (let’s call him Chip). We both want that table and we both know it. Sometimes I get there first, sometimes he does, but the look of sadness as the other sits at a teetering table is no laughing matter. The desire for the table is indeed intense.
Trudging over today I saw to my delight that the table was empty! As I sat down with book and highlighter in hand I looked up to see Chip as he sighed ready to put his computer on a precariously teetering table. I felt bad. I only had one book today, surely I can let him use the table today. So I smiled and waved him over letting him know. A smile burst over his face as though I had informed he was the new emperor of Rome and as shuffled his books over and we made the switch we had a little chat.
Chip: Whatcha studying for?
Me: The bar exam, what about you?
Chip: Boards, Step one.
Me: Oh wow. Thats a lot of work I’m sure.
Chip: Yeah, I pull ten hour days more than I count.
Me: Yeah its terrible huh
Me: You know, studying on beautiful summer days like this, it stinks.
Chip: Really? I love studying! Its so much fun.
Me: *figuring that MUST be sarcasm I laugh* yeah…. so much fun!
Chip: Mistaking my shared sarcasm for shared enthusiasm. I know! I mean, you just like, sit there, and you just soak up all this knowledge and all these facts! Its so refreshing.
Me: Staring back at his cheerful face and realizing this man is perhaps quite unstable, and why don’t I listen to my mom and not talk to strangers, I smile and nod as I carefully pick up my books and tiptoe away.
Maybe studying for Boards is as fun as sitting by a pool sipping halal frozen daiquiris, I guess I can’t speak to that, but studying for the Bar ten hours a day while drinking subpar coffee is not how I’d choose to spend my day. But maybe that’s just me.