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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Column: Save me a seat

I’m leaning up against the main double doors of SciLec. Some nutrition professor is rambling on about fish or something, and I’m on the precipice of exploding with excitement – and it’s not about the omega-3’s in rainbow trout. No, I’m barbarically salivating over the seat that’s going to open up when she’s finished babbling: the most coveted of all the seats in SciLec for a huge, left-handed guy.

It’s located behind the front-row handicapped seat on the very left-hand side in the middle-section. It’s legendary – no scratch that, it’s biblical. In addition to its rare lefty design, it has Godly leg-room. And that’s unbeatable for a southpaw who’s as tall as Yao Ming but as fat as Danny DeVito.

Currently sitting in my soon-to-be seat is a middle-aged woman with a Native American inspired wolf T-shirt who is taking way too many notes for a power point slide. But, in reality, she’s the least of my worries. I shift my gaze to my competition, a.k.a. the uncomfortably disheveled girl who is always wearing a grimy backpack and carrying an overflowing purse, as if to convince any would-be skeptics that she is, in fact, a girl.

Let me explain how their little sting operation works. Two friends with better things to do than arrive early for lecture solicit their mutual, disheveled quasi-friend to come in 30 minutes beforehand to park herself in a seat and save those directly on each side of her – one of which is my jacked desk. Her definition of “saving seats” is placing her overstuffed JanSport to the left of her, and her smelly UC Davis sweatshirt to the right.

Then her accomplice comes in: It’s an ungainly, pasty white dude who snaps at you if you even attempt to sit down, or even ask gently if it’s possible. He snapped so badly at me once, I almost cried. And I’m a big, hairy, Persian beast. I felt pathetic. And his assoholery doesn’t hinge on me being brown or big. I saw him do this to an innocuous little Asian dude who asked very politely if he could sit down in that seat. The pasty white guy bit him like a pit bull. The poor Asian was so red after the exchange I thought he was drunk. I eavesdropped on the pasty white dude’s justification for snapping: “I’m in a bad mood.” Really? That’s the wrong definition of paying it forward, jackass.

Why not just sit in the front row, you ask? Well, you see, front row seats are always taken by horny-for-letters-of-rec pre-meds, and I don’t want to have to compete with them. Not to mention the fact that I’d have to sit in on the previous lecture and that would mean coming in at like 10 a.m. for a noon class. That’s precious time that could be spent heckling the guy giving out Coke-Zero at the Silo or thinking about my imaginary Narwhal friend, Mortimer J. Hornswell.

The histrionics may seem gratuitous, but I’m getting to the reason I’m so angry. Immediately after the tense eye-contact, I hear people rustling in their seats. Class is over. I run down the stairs of SciLec. I don’t think you understand – I’m flying down these goddamn stairs like I’ve never flown before.

As I’m flying, I look to my left and there’s this guy in a cheap plastic jacket who’s miraculously keeping up with me. Time slows down. My heart is racing, but he breaks off down another row … fortunately there’s a seat he likes more than mine. I simply don’t give a fuck about the people trying to leave; I’ve clogged up the entire left side of the lecture hall as a result of this death-defying stunt.

Glistening with the sweat of exhaustion and nervousness, I get to my seat. Fuck me! Wolf lady is still taking notes. I look at my watch 15 times to hurry her ass up subconsciously, but she’s painfully oblivious. She finally finishes her PowerPoint extravaganza and BAM, I plop my fat-ass into the seat. My grin is so huge and my pride so great, the pain of coming 30 minutes early to organic chemistry is completely gone.

I grope for the fake wood desk but only scoop air. Are you shitting me? After scarfing down breakfast, scoping out the desk from above, sprinting down the stairs and nearly pissing my pants because of wolf lady, I realize that I missed my target and just sat in a right-handed desk. The only fucking anomaly in all of SciLec had to be the one I fought for so tirelessly. Goddamnit!

DAVE KARIMI has plenty of stories about Mortimer J. Hornswell and his evil nemesis, Mortimer J. Hornsbad. E-mail him at dkarimi@ucdavis.edu to hear more about them.


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