No, Your Other Left

As a recently declared Art History minor, it’s not really that alarming that I walked into the Art building for a class on Monday for the very first time since September 2002. It’s still unreasonably cold in there because they keep the AC so regulated to preserve the art work on display, and the chill immediately reminded me of the very first academic blunder of my college career. The night before classes started my first year, I diligently looked up the buildings and room numbers for all of my classes, including my first year seminar, Films in the Aura of Art.

The next day, I showed up in Dwight, wondered briefly at the enormous size of my first year seminar, and signed the attendance sheet, which was missing the last letters of the alphabet anyway, so I wasn’t surprised not to find my name. I took notes, complete with decorative sketches of film strips along the margins, until 2:30, when the lecture ended and we took a break before screening the first film. When that was finally over at 5PM, I stopped at the Odyssey to buy my new textbook and then headed back to my room to read.

It wasn’t until I looked for the page numbers on the syllabus that I realized I had just spent all afternoon and part of the evening in Film Studies 200. How immaculately orderly to schedule an intro Film Studies course and an intro Art History course about film on a simultaneous timetable, weekly two and half hour film screening and all. I had to e-mail my intended professor and explain my lengthy blonde moment, and then go return my textbook to the Odyssey.

It seems that it is protocol for me to embarrass myself at the beginning of every Mount Holyoke Art History course. I whined miserably to my mom on Monday night about the whole Architecture class chucking at me when I made a comment:

“The professor put up two drawings that some guy had done, one representing his town as it was, which was basically nothing but church steeples and a few piles of dirt, and one predicting the way it would look if it was industrialized, with walls and a real bridge and maybe a factory, and he asked us which one we would want to live in, and no one said anything so I raised my hand and said the one on the…oh no!”

“What?”

“No wonder they laughed, of course they laughed, I said I’d want to live in the one on the left, but since I don’t know my right from my left…oh man, I said I’d want to live in the one with the piles of dirt!”

Mom is amused. She has to hold the phone away from her mouth or her laughter will deafen me.

“And, wait! It gets worse! I followed up that remarkable statement with the insight that I chose the town on the left because it looked ‘stronger and more permanent!’ The half-a-picket-fence looked stronger to me than, you know, the brick wall with an actual foundation. So the class is laughing because they’re like, ‘Dude, you do whatever you want, but I’d totally go for the industrialized real estate.'”

“And you just realized this?”

“Yeah! I just held up my left hand so it looked like an ‘L’ which I restrained myself from doing in class so I wouldn’t look like an idiot.”