I’ll have a pepsi, please!

The Student Pub is a great place to come and have a drink, eat some tasty food, and just relax after a long day of classes. It’s usually pretty quiet. Quiet in the sense that it’s 4:30PM on a Thursday, and students are either in class, or working. But there seems to be more activity today. I can’t help but observe.

I walk into the pub from the south entrance and walk past the bar where two males are sitting and having a beer. They both turn their heads and look at me as I walk past. I sit down at a table with some classmates and we order drinks. A few of us order food as well. At the table directly in front of mine sat a guy with whom I’ve had one English class with. His name is Dallas. We made eye contact and each said hey. He was sitting across from someone with their back to me. Could be a friend or simply a classmate. They were both drinking. Some guy came up behind Dallas as he was sitting and kissed him on the top of his head. Dallas, looking grossed out, got up from his chair and turned around. With all the talking going on around me, I couldn’t hear what they said. But they hugged each other as if “it’s been forever man!”

There are four couches along the interior wall. Two facing one table, and two facing another. Four people are sitting at the first table eating what looks to be the Greek Plate. It’s actually quite delicious. As is all of the food I’ve ever had here. But at the second table sits a younger gentleman, whom I’m assuming is a first year student. He had his laptop open sitting on the table with a notepad and pen to the left and either a water or Sprite on the right. It’s water; I don’t see any fizz. Why would anyone come to the pub to do homework? The library isn’t that far away. Our waitress went up to his table and asked if he wanted anything else. She called him Tom. He just shook his head. You could tell he was getting frustrated at his lack of concentration.

An original idea. That can’t be too hard. The library must be full of them. — Stephen Fry

There was a pancake breakfast on campus last Friday. I met up with Jon who had class earlier that morning. We had pancakes; lots of pancakes. They were just handing them out to us, five to a plate, as it was almost 11:00AM and they were slowly folding the empty chairs and tables. Jon asked if I wanted to go to the library to hang out while he got some homework done. He’s the kind of person who will finish everything before the weekend. I wish. Yes, I said. We got to the library and after walking in what felt like a maze, sat at a table in a corner facing a wall. I didn’t even know this was here! What are we in, a time-out? If I’m just hanging out, I want to at least be able to people-watch. We moved up to the second floor of the library. Well, technically they refer to it as the fourth floor, but the first two floors aren’t even part of the library, so that really doesn’t make sense to me. A lot of things don’t.

A rainbow as seen from the top floor of the VIU library.

We sat in the comfy chairs facing the windows, looking out at the campus and downtown Nanaimo. I wonder if Tom is here… It’s so peaceful up here. Or at least I thought. It sounded like a hippo was slowly, somehow, making its way up the stairs behind us. I didn’t look until I heard it getting closer to me. I turned to my left to see a male, around my age, wearing these large boots with high soles. He also wore dark baggy jeans with a chain hanging from his back pocket. I can only imagine it’s attached to his wallet… He has on a black hoodie, similar to the one I’m wearing. What I really noticed was the tribal tattoo on the back of his hand, peeking through the sleeve of his hoodie. Clearly he knew I was looking at him and he looked right back at me. He had stretched ears. They must have been at least one and a half inches. My friend from Saskatoon had his earlobes scalpelled to the same gauge. I got to watch. That’s a sound I’ll never forget... This guy sat at the table to the left of us, beside one of the windows. He took out two textbooks and a notebook and pen from his backpack. He started writing. This isn’t right. Aren’t people like this supposed to be badasses? He’s really doing homework? Isn’t it sad we’ve come down to this? Judging people by the way they dress. I’m sure there were people in the library expecting him to be loud and not conforming to the rules of the library. Thinking he should be in the pub or somewhere else instead.

Oh right, the pub…

Well Tom’s gone now. There are other students at that table. What’s that smell? I turn to Quinlan; he smells it too. It smells like something’s on fire. It must be coming from the outdoor oven behind the lower cafeteria. The smell didn’t come in until someone opened the west-facing door. No one else seems distracted by this… Those two men that were sitting at the bar are now playing pool. Drinks in hand. I wonder how many they’ve had. Better yet, do they have class after this? It is almost 5:30… What department could they be in? Why don’t I ever see faculty in here? I’m sure they could use a drink after teaching for nine hours…

Shit, it’s almost 5:30. I’ve got class. I hope they aren’t thinking the same of me… I just had a pepsi.