Tuesday, November 06, 2007

6 November

An Observation

So I go to Tufts University in Medford, where I am working on a master's in bio. Fun times. Actually not really at all, but hey, the past year and a half has flown by and now I'm approaching the light at the end of the tunnel.

Tufts is a great school, I think at least. The professors I've encountered for the most part are engaging, intelligent and kind, with only a few exceptions, though I will say that that isn't a Tufts, thing, it's definitely a thing you find in colleges everywhere, goodness knows there were some b*tches at Smith. The students seem to like Tufts too; the few undergrads I've spoken to have been enthusiastic about Tufts and judging from the general atmosphere on campus it seems like a good place. I mean, it's pretty, near Boston and college - what's not to like?

That being said, I will admit that life as an "old" student is a bit lonely. I have mostly undergrads in my classes, so a 25-year old to them is practically one step away from a senior citizen bus pass. It's so funny to see student reactions when I say I have a job. One girl, after telling her we'd have to arrange a meeting at a special time because I had a few big commitments at work said "Wait. Wait......You have....a job?" Yes, dear, people tend to work. I wonder if I was as clueless in college? hmm. Because I have classes with undergrads, most of the students have friends in the class and separate off into their little groups. I mean, I'm not looking for friends here, LOL, the ones I have are all I can handle, but sometimes it's slightly awkward when the professor gives us a 5 minute break and you sit there, alone, like the new kid in the lunchroom in 5th grade and no one talks to you. Ehhhh.

Yesterday I walked into my law class and sat down next to a guy who has been consistently pleasant. He always makes small talk, about the weather or what we had to read the week before, but he makes an effort, which is so nice. He also happens to be from Ghana.

As I sat in class I thought back through the students at Tufts that have actually made an effort to be friendly and that I've talked in depth. With the exception of 1, they're all AFRICAN. Then I started thinking of the type of people who approach me on the street for directions. Again, all African or Caribbean. Almost 99%. What is up with that?

Usually I try to wear the unapproachable face. Does something in my face change when I see someone from Africa or who I perceive to be from Africa or of African descent (ha ha no jokes about me and Jamaal now). I was with my coworkers one day when a man approached me on the street. He had a thick accent which I now think was probably west African of some sort and he asked me how to get to the green line and where he needed to transfer. I gave him directions and then made sure he had memorized them so he wouldn't get lost. "Thank you thank you thank you" he said over and over before he went along his way. My lovely coworker goes "How the HELL did you know what he was saying" I said "I specialize in English to English translation" trying to joke about it (my coworkers are a bit narrow-minded and they claim not to be able to understand anyone with an accent. sooo annoying.) Then another coworker said "That guy looked like a deer in headlights and when he saw you, he went to you like you had a magnet in your pocket." Again I tried to joke "Well I do look REALLY hot today" Finally a third coworker said "It's because you've been to Africa. There's something about you, about your aura that lets people know this and they feel comfortable approaching you."

Well that sounded like a load of crap to me, but who knows, maybe it's true. I wonder what my Kenyan friends would say about that, LOL. Actually, they would probably say it was true. Although my friend David Livingston Otieno (below) would undoubtedly give me a very hard time about this, as he did with a lot of other things :D

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