Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Oh, right. Hot in summer.

There's a severe weather warning across the Kansas City area today. The "hottest weather of the season" is predicted. Splendid. I'm disappointed that there ever has to be hottest weather, but I suppose that it's OK that it happens NOW, instead of next week when classes begin.

I registered last week for a German class at my local community college. Maybe I've just become used to paying quite a bit for tuition (having spent six years at the post-bachelor level), but I was quite surprised to get my bill.

The in-area rate for this community college is $63 per credit hour. I'm taking a three hour course. At the university, this is a recipe for at least $250 in fees and tuition expenses, when you take into account the Computing Fee, the Gym Fee, the Student Activity Fee, the Conservatory Student Fee, the Parking on Campus Fee, and the What's a "Svrg Mxj" Fee. The community college bill was $189, which is $63 multiplied by three credit hours. I walked out of their registrar feeling like I had a bargain.

I don't know if it's a feature of this community college in particular (having been the only one I've ever enrolled in), but the student body was certainly diverse. While standing in the registration line, I'm sure the entire cast of "Fame", followed by the entire cast of "Sesame Street". Furry monsters included.

Lots of pretty girls, too. They're a fixture of college campuses (especially in the warm months) and I know a couple guys who came to college just for the scenery. I think I've been spending too much time amongst my friends who are girls, however. I'm used to spending time around girls who smile and look generally interested in life around them. Most of these ladies seem to have discovered some sort of annoying smell on their own upper lips, and determined that the best way to ameliorate the stench is by pulling down the corners of their mouths. Seldom can I recall seeing so many grimacing or pouty faces.

I've read that some men prefer a frowning and disdainful face in a women. It somehow plays into the "hard to get, I'm not worthy of her" dynamic which seems to be popular amongst rich hotel heiresses and the groups of socially-maladjusted guys who aspire to have said heiresses as relationships. I suppose it's the gender-flipped companion to the "why do nice girls fall for angry, jerky guys". Of course, these questions are merely localized version of the fundamental, underlying search for truth: why are cats and dogs most interested in the people who don't like them? At this moment, scientists are toiling away around the globe, but they've only managed to discover what cats and dogs like for breakfast. More news as it develops.

When I stepped out of my car at the parking lot, I was recovering from almost being destroyed by a giant Cadillac Escalade. Cruising along, looking for a spot, the Escalade suddenly began to back out right in front of me. I stood on the brakes, giving me the funny feeling of having my brain slosh around in my head. The giant black troop transport kept on backing up, slowly, emerging with a tiny girl behind the helm. She gave me an apologizing display of gritted teeth, shrugged shoulders, and worried eyebrows before continuing on her way. When I stepped out, in slightly nervous temper, I was immediately struck by how quiet everything was.

My car is a little noisy, I'll admit. The air conditioning makes noise. The motor mounts are old, so the entire car vibrates continuously. The radio sometimes gets loud. I'm used to all this stuff, though, as it occurs continuously. The location I parked was just quiet. The campus is huge, with lots of trees and hills to block assorted road noise. As I looked around, I realized that even though I was surrounded by cars and buildings, it was the same kind of "quiet" I get when on my grandparent's farm in rural Indiana. The kind where you step out and hear the wind. Not because it's blowing trees horizontal, but because there just AREN'T any other sounds.

I instantly relaxed.

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