Last week I was reminded a few days in a row to not make assumptions, to give people time, to wait and see….
Though I have only been in school for a month now (not counting the French month) I have spent a fair bit of time in my library carrel. No alluring gifts have been left for me since that flower the day after my birthday, but it has been a good spot… with a few exceptions. When I was assigned the carrel it had a different chair than the three carrels all around it. A slightly more comfortable chair. This was a plus. It stayed there for weeks.
But two weeks ago it had been switched with the carrel opposite mine, another reserved carrel, the rightful user of which I have never met. I just switched it back. No big deal. Last week when I arrived, switched again. O.K., I was irritated. But clearly we needed to find another chair like this to resolve the issue. So I wandered around the seventh floor of the library for a bit until I found a chair against a wall, that was similar enough. I made the switch and settled in.
Shortly thereafter the carrel opposite mine, now in possession of “my” chair became occupied… by the NOISIEST young man on earth. O.K., I’m sure there are noisier men, but… he did NOTHING quietly. Drinking involved loud slurping. And he talked to himself. And he snapped his fingers rapidly at random times. And he sang a bit. And…. aie. When you have grown accustomed to being the only noisemaker around… this is…. irritating to say the least. I left the library that day thinking several unkind thoughts about this young man and wondering how I’d abide this the whole year (presuming him to be the rightful user of the carrel).
Two days later I settled into my carrel and then he into the opposite carrel a few minutes later. I sighed, but decided to listen to my iPod to try to drown him out. But a few minutes after that he said “Excuse me, but I am going to move. I am too noisy.” “Oh,” I said, eyebrows jumping up, “Thank you. What is your name? What are you studying?” And we became briefly acquainted. It turns out he is a very polite and self-aware young man. AND he is not the one who has reserved the carrel….
An hour or so later I went to community worship, the preacher at which is a classmate in two classes. She is a very intense woman. She tremendously irritates another classmate of mine. She mostly amuses me, but I was aware as I made my way from the library to the chapel that I wasn’t expecting much. And she preached a FINE sermon, I mean, really, very good. It was the word I believe God needed at least me to hear that day. And we sang my all time favorite hymn.
Funny how we have to learn some lessons again and again, eh?