During exam season it is stereotypically true for students to be stuck indoors “studying”. Be it at home, in libraries, coffee shops, and any other spots that are considered fit for studious business. Generally it is eat, study, sleep, and/or the transit from whichever place of review. As far as I know, crazy stories of social life don’t generally come from this time. Going out is pretty difficult as the rational brain says “Oh jeez, I should probably spend the time it would take to go out to just study” when in reality you don’t really get much studying done in the amount of time it would have taken for you to have some fun and chill outdoors. It’s always the “what if” problem!
Instead of staying home to study today, I took 2 hours to go out and walk around Broadway. I grabbed a bite to eat at McDonalds (I try to be healthy) and ended up having a complete stranger sit across from me. There is something about small crowded spaces that provide a greater chance of conversing with a stranger. Yeah it’s the smallness and crowdedness. Simply put, the man who sat across from me wasn’t the most handsomely dressed man in the world and I wonder how many people would actually feel uncomfortable being beside him. Food for thought. He had ordered an ice cream cone and it was starting to drip all over the place. Having his hands full, he called out to a McDonalds worker who was where the napkins were located. Said worker didn’t hear the gentleman sitting across from me and I asked if a napkin was what he desired. He said yes, so I jumped off my seat and grabbed him one. An exchange of “thank you” and “no problem” occurred subsequently. We both ate in silence for a few minutes with the occasional exchange of smiles. He started further conversation first, asking me if I was happy about Vancouver winning the Grey Cup. I regrettably declared that I did not watch football, but did say that if it made everyone else happy then that’s probably all that really matters. I then asked him if he followed hockey and he replied that he followed it here and there. In my head I thought “well there goes the use of hockey for conversation” but it wasn’t a total loss as hockey isn’t my most desired topic of discussion. A few moments of silence again, and he asked if I was studying to be a doctor. The thought of that put a smile to my face and I corrected the notion and revealed that I was actually studying Political Science at UBC. This somehow lead to me mentioning that I was learning some Russian at UBC as well and he responded by saying that he used to be able to speak a fair amount of Russian. Catching my interest, I asked if he had been to Russia and lo and behold he had been. This then jumped towards Russian literature. Quite fitting.
At this point the scruffily dressed gentleman proceeded to talk much on Russian literature. When someone gets to discuss something that they are knowledgable about, boy is it great to listen! One thing I got out of it, was a greater interest in Russian literature. The second, a chance to observe and listen to the way this wonderful gentleman spoke. When discussing Russian literature he spoke with clarity, confidence, and passion. His choice of words flowed perfectly together and there were no filler words such as “um”, “like”, “you know”, and “uhhh”. Being very much accustomed to hearing people speaking using the word “like” (I myself am guilty at this and I kick myself in the brain each time I catch myself using it improperly) it was a breath of fresh air for my ears and brain. A very encouraging experience when one wants to improve his/her speaking ability. In case a reader is curious, the gentleman talked mainly about The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov and how it eluded to the problems Russia had before the Communist Revolution. Very very interesting.
So taking 2 hours out of supposed “studying time” and being out and about on a whim was truly worth it today. If the loss was a full letter grade, heck even 3 letter grades, then I wouldn’t really consider it a loss. It was more of a gain for myself as that experience worth more than any mark I could possibly get. I reinforced my value on speech ability and the age old expression of never judging a book by its cover. We all know the latter and former but we all need little reminders of it here and there throughout our existence on this rock that is earth. One won’t get any reminders if they aren’t out and about. Ain’t that the truth. The only regret I have? Not having the courage of asking him for a photo. His eyes were clear and a wonderful sight.