My first full week in Ohio, of course, went by like a shot. I went with Grant on campus once or twice, or stayed at home and tidied the flat or watched TV on my computer. I got zero work done, surprise surprise. On Wednesday, though, Grant took me to class with him. He had mentioned his Contracts tutor, Professor Cook, and we thought it’d be fun for me to go along with him and see what class was like. Professor Cook is an elderly man, with a beard and a bow-tie and a super-cool attitude – so Grant emailed ahead of time and asked if it’d be alright for me to tag along, and it wasn’t a problem so I did just that. I quietly followed Grant in and sat next to him, trying not to attract too much attention. Predictably, however, I wasn’t going to get off the hook that easily. He didn’t make too much of a fuss of me – he just mentioned that Stubbins’ girlfriend was visiting and the class should be on their best behaviour, and asked me where I was from. When I said Scotland, he asked if I’d brought any scotch with me; I replied that I was too young (and immediately regretted not using the word “wee” instead), and he didn’t hear what I said and it was awkward. How disappointing – I had so wanted everyone in his class to see me as the exotic stranger who waltzed into class one day and left without a trace, leaving them gazing after me in awe and possibly a little envy. Now they were just going to think I was an awkward little Scottish girl who didn’t even bring spirits.
And yet there is, you’ll be thrilled to learn, a happy ending to the story. Prof. Cook likes to break up his classes a bit – it’s an hour and a half of pretty intense contracts study – by making a student read random trivia from a book he brings to class. He picked on Grant and while Grant was standing at the front of the class, looking for a particularly juicy piece of information to relay to us all, Cook asked me if I’d come all this way just to see Grant. I said “I came all this way just to see you!” (What? I really had been looking forward to that class!) and everyone thought this was utterly hilarious. Cook burst forth with a hearty and enthusiastic chortle and the whole class followed suit, in stitches for at least a minute. It was awkward as hell – I didn’t really understand why I got such a good response to an offhand comment, so I just sat there while everyone in front of me turned around to look at the little Scottish comedian girl, my face going red as I looked around, somewhat baffled. Meanwhile, Grant was still standing at the front of the class, also not sure what had happened, waiting for everyone to calm down so he could tell us about mustard. Eventually, Cook concluded the hilarity by commenting that I was “a keeper” (yes!) and that he wished he’d been as sharp as me when he was my age; and Grant took the opportunity to begin his reading. I don’t remember all of the excerpts – clearly, my outstanding wit outshone his comparatively tame performance – but, did you know that over-65s are more likely than any other age group to put mustard on their hotdogs? Another gem I picked up in that class was that a contract will not be held as valid unless there is an offer, acceptance and consideration.
I think I’m barking up the wrong tree with this whole languages thing, because I would rock law school.
In comparison to my moment of glory, the rest of the lesson was pretty low-key. We looked at a case where some dude tried to buy a $5,260 surge protector for $52.60, and another case about a ship, and when it was time to leave Cook gave me a wee bow on my way out. Grant and I tucked in to lunch, and while we chowed down on pitta and taboule, a couple of folk from class came up and randomly started chatting to us. One of them (an almost-elderly woman with a stripe of pink hippifying her greying hair) said to me “Nice comment in class today!” I didn’t know what else to say but “Thanks, I do my best…” . Once they’d gone, Grant said that those women had never ever talked to him before. He also reported the next day that a couple of guys he’s also never spoken to before started asking questions about me, such as how long I was staying and so on; PLUS, in his next Contracts class, Prof. Cook threw a comment his way about his girlfriend being a “cutie”.
I think he’s trying to phase me out of class, though, because the class AFTER that (I took to interrogating Grant upon his return from campus, demanding that he tell me everything Prof. Cook had said about me), the only mention I got was an obscure reference to scotch and a glance in Grant’s direction. Still. I like to believe I’ve made him something of a hero.
Anyway, seeing as lot of the days have blended into each other, I can’t describe to you with any real conviction what it was that we did after class that day. It might have been that day that we went to the mall and smelled all the candles in existence before heading to dinner at P.F. Chang’s – an Asian chain restaurant with excellent food.
On Thursday I stayed at home and tidied, waited for Grant to get home, and pretended to want to try to do some work. Grant woke me on Friday morning with breakfast in bed, and gave me my birthday gifts (including our favourite candle which we’d smelled only two days before!!! It smells like candy canes and happiness). He did have to go to class, which was a shame, but he left the coffee machine primed and ready for whenever I chose to emerge from the depths of our bed. When he returned from school, we packed our bags and headed to Zanesville, a two-hour-odd drive, where his mum was waiting with open arms to welcome me back into their beautiful home.