Ode to the Curious Boy on Campus.

With my daddy’s vintage Ray Bans on and a hurried pace in my steps, I headed back towards my car after a long day of class. As I walked towards the Woodward Garage, I noticed that the boy behind me was stepping dangerously close to my heel. That’s odd, I thought to myself. I quickened my pace, but he kept up.

“Excuse me, are you in one of my chemistry classes?” Clearly he had mistaken my identity.
“Definitetly not, I’m an English major,” I replied.

While this easily could have been the end of our conversation, this boy keep chatting as we walked together beneath the shady trees on our brick path. I asked if my mysterious twin was pretty, and while his mumbled ‘yeah, sure‘ wasn’t very convincing, I took it as a compliment anyways. He extended his hand, and introduced himself as Zack. His firm handshake impressed me; Daddy always said the most important first impression you make is with the quality of your handshake.

“So what if I was this girl?”
“Well, I would have asked how you felt about the test.”
“If I had taken the test, I probably would have failed; I’m an English major. The only thing I remember about chemistry is nomenclature. It’s just a good word!” He laughed at my naivety.
“Binomial nomenclature, there’s a good one for you, English major,” he offered.
“Even better! I love it.”

Our paths began to separate, and I approached my usual shortcut towards the parking garage. As I turned to walk away, he stopped me with more questions. He asked what year I was, and we commented on how bothersome it is to look so young now, but that it would benefit us to appear youthful as we grow older. Our light conversation continued, and this stranger seemed genuinely interested in everything I had to say.

At the point where our paths could no longer continue side-by-side, I bid him a bittersweet farewell. This one’s to you, Zack – pleasant stranger who made my day with your light conversation and friendly smile. Zack in your ordinary blue shirt and your summery shorts, your handsome hawk nose that you wore like a proud family heirloom. May more people follow your example of blind kindness towards your peers. I wish I could contact you again to let you know what a positive impact you made on my hectic day. If by some cosmic chance, you happen upon this – Thank You, Zack.

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7 thoughts on “Ode to the Curious Boy on Campus.

  1. Brandon says:

    Awesome, I really enjoyed the story. You are a great writer.. and only now did I make the connection that you are an English major. hah haaaaaa. Although I suppose that probably doesn’t matter since it is more likely that you became that major because of your skill, instead of the contrary.

    I was just complaining about the lack of love in people towards strangers with a friend recently. It is fun to talk to new people, and your story is proof that it can make a difference. I wish creepiness wasn’t invented 15 years ago. I blame the internet, which has made people forget that interacting with strangers face to face was actually a common thing at one point. XD Everyone is silly. Well, almost everyone, I am glad you two are an exception.

    • Katie Boué says:

      Thank you Brandon! I was really moved by Zack’s unwavering confidence in speaking to a complete stranger, especially once he realized that I wasn’t who he thought I was. I’d blame the internet as well, but I think what we really need to examine is our relationship with technology. I’m planning an upcoming post about the way our society has replaced human-to-human interaction with human-to-screen interaction – we’re so isolated from everyone around us. I started walking to class without my iPod, and my levels of interaction and awareness have skyrocketed. It’s really refreshing.

      • Brandon says:

        I would hate to listen to music when walking around.. I always wonder how others can enjoy it. I want to read the rest of your writings and I definitely want to read the article you mentioned when it is published on here.

        I am starting to talk to random people a lot more.. it seems like most people find it refreshing and some I can tell definitely needed a surprise kick to their mind to free them from their never ending thoughts and worries. In one of my classes this kid beside me looked really worried and stressed before the test so I asked him how he felt about it. He stopped moving all around and calmed down noticeably and he kept the discussion going even more than I did and then I noticed he actually loosened up to much as to say some things to other he didn’t know. We can change people Katie! One stranger at a time! hah ;P

        Today was a day of synchronicity in its finest. You might appreciate this. I had to pick up my car from the Towing place and so took a taxi ride over there with a funny old German guy who showed me pics of his three houses, boat and of Germany. He dropped me off at the wrong address unfortunately and left me out in the middle of no where at some car repair shop with a bunch of huge guys staring me down from the shop. Oblivious at first, I found out I was in the wrong place and told one of the kinder guys where I needed to be. ‘Coincidentally’ he had a friend where I was going and he was going to stop by there anyways that day! So I got a free ride.

        Some other stuff happened too which added to the day’s sublimity but I don’t want people to mistake this comment for your article because of the length 😀

        • Katie Boué says:

          This was a great comment, thank you Brandon! Never feel like you should limit yourself when providing feedback – the more, the better! I really enjoy collaborating and conversing with my peers. You story about your towing experience was fantastic, I’m glad to know that others are seeing the same selfless, pure human interaction that I was able to have with Zack. You story is even better than mine! Have a great Sunday, Brandon!

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