My housemate Donkey is like an old woman sometimes, especially around the end of each quarter. This is when he really starts nagging me. Where are you going to live next year, Drew? When are you going to buy the schoolbooks you were supposed to be reading for the past six weeks? Why did you drink that whole box of wine?
I never know the answers to these questions, which prompts Donkey to get very upset at me. Occasionally he will beat me about the head and call me hurtful names, but that’s only because he cares. There is a final question that Donkey asks me frequently, a question that, because he cares, he has prepared me well for: “What are you going to do with the new people you’ve been meeting the past few weeks? The section acquaintances?”
We are all familiar with the section acquaintance. You strike up conversations with them every now and then, usually on subjects pertaining to class. Typically, neither of you knows the other’s name, and thus every sentence exchanged finds a way to skirt around this ignorance. Vague plans might even be made to meet up after class sometime, and in some rare occasions this actually takes place.
Donkey worries about my social life, or lack thereof, so he encourages me to befriend these acquaintances. According to him, there are three types of people worth knowing: attractive people, interesting people and rich people. He’s a shallow person, that Donkey, and an intrepid womanizer as well, but I value his input nonetheless.
I conduct myself according to Donkey’s guidelines in section. If a person doesn’t meet any of the three requirements, they are politely ignored. If they insist on continuing to speak with me, then I start attaching nicknames to them. I start by calling them “champ” or “babe.” This usually drives them off. If things get really bad I call them “tiger,” but that’s only in emergencies.
Ridding oneself of section acquaintances is a cinch. Ladies have an added dilemma in this department, seeing as how many of their section acquaintances are enthusiastic guys that want to get friendly, but they cope well. I’ve noticed most of them employ a fairly ingenious blow-off line: “So anyway, this morning my boyfriend and I… [insert activity here].” You can visibly see the air go out of guys that hear this sentence.
In a large state college, anonymity is a way of life. You usually walk to class as part of a crowd of strangers. You attend packed classes where the teacher doesn’t know you and you don’t know them. You go to big parties where people break themselves off into groups and are often difficult to approach. Section offers an escape from this facelessness, but only to those who choose to use it. Ask yourself: What would Donkey do?
Drew Atkins is a Daily Nexus staff writer. Kablammo!