Thursday, December 01, 2005

Course Selection

“Astronomy seems to be the only thing left,” Megan said. She sounded defeated. The inky pages of her much-abused course catalog looked like they had been run over by a truck more than once in the booklet's short existence.

“No, that’s actually a good one,” I said. “Limited math. Chemical-free labs. Colorfully-named concepts. Like ‘red shift.’ Doesn’t that sound cool?”

“It sounds like science.” She was getting sulky, and I wanted to get her through the course sign-up as quickly and painlessly as possible. If I wasn’t careful, she would get mopey and refuse to go out that night. Academic frustration almost always led her to cancel our dates.

“But some science is okay, Meg. You liked your oceanography class.”

“No, I just liked the word diatom. Everything just kind of fell into place after that.”

I sighed. “I’m still not clear on how that works, but what’s important is that it did work.”

“And even then, I just barely passed.” She made the small, pitiful moan that once-upon-a-time I'd thought of as cute. That had been a few thousand moans ago.

I pressed on, hoping to focus her. “I think you pushed it luck when you kept referring to ‘Gaia’ on your final. Science professors don't always appreciate their subjects getting cross-pollinated that way.”

Megan shrugged and copied down the course ID number on her admissions request, somehow making the simple task heavy with painful resignation. The spring semester was already seeming long to me, and it was still a couple of months away.