I’m alone, leaning up against a pillar. The pavement is reflecting the sun’s intense rays but behind my sunglasses my eyes are darting up and down the street, looking for my mark. Her? No, that sweater’s pink, not purple. I look back at the crumpled piece of paper in my hand and the message scrawled on it: “Front of OISE. 4:00”. I’m in the right place. I turn to check the time on my cell phone when a shadow is cast over my bowed head. I look up: purple sweater, jean shorts, plastic shopping bag. It’s her. She walks up to me.
“Yeah.” She hands me the bag. “You can check the quality, if you like.”
“Nah, I trust you.” I reach into my pocket and hand her a five dollar bill. She nods and walks away. I wait a minute and walk the other direction.
As you can tell, I’m a big fun of TUSBE – the Toronto University Student Book Exchange. It’s a fabulous website that connects university students looking to buy or sell textbooks in Toronto with each other, eliminating a middle-man like eBay or the clutter possible from a general use site like Craig’s List. Anyone can post a listing, and then when someone sees what they want they contact the poster and set up a time and place to meet and make the transaction. As textbooks are often dead weight – and occasionally bad memories – to students who’ve completed the corresponding class, motivated sellers offer better prices than the campus bookstore, et al. Best of all, waiting to buy or sell a book starts to feel like a Hollywood-type secret agent liason or Albuquerque crystal meth sale*.
TUSBE is an extremely valuable academic resource but lately I’ve been toying with the idea of using it to buy a book I don’t need for class. I wouldn’t want to waste money; I’d buy a novel or something I could actually, theoretically enjoy, but mostly I have a lot of fun pretending to be a spy or controlled substance distributor. Between my time stuck in class, the unpleasantness of job hunting, and cramming the equivalent of a year’s worth of studying into twelve weeks, a little excitement – however goofy and imagined – starts to seem pretty appealing.
If I were the prose writer I wish I were, I’d have been able to communicate to you just how much I’m hating summer school with the above anecdote and no further explanation. Then you could use my little blurb for an assignment in INI103 in the fall and the professor would comment “excellent insight” and you would get an “A” because you read between the lines, but I haven’t quite gotten the hang of writing between the lines. Until then, this will have to do:
Summer school sucks.
Making believe is fun.
Summer school still sucks.
*If you don’t immediately get that reference, go and pick up the first four seasons of Breaking Bad and watch them all right now. I can wait.