I’ve spent all of winter break training for today: squats, yoga, daily aerobics. I strategically enter the classroom in WLH six minutes early. My water bottle is full and my shoelaces are tied, ready for battle. Creaking along the craggly floorboards, I enter. Instant horror prevails: every seat is already taken around the wooden Harkness discussion table. I glance around the room, the clock ominously ticking, as hoards of frenzied shoppers snag chairs from nearby classrooms. My stomach feels slippery and my forehead feels faint as I recognize the reality of the situation. I must hide my defeat from the ferocious competition as I kneel down, unrobing my backpack and winter coat. As sweat trickles down my neck, I feel vulnerable to the dozens of older and wiser shoppers. I sit cross-legged on the ground as I embrace my fate for the next two hours.
It’s twenty minutes in. My foot hasn’t fallen asleep yet, but my back yearns to find support. Uh-oh. My bladder starts to tremble, whispering to my feeble mind, undermining any and all endurance. We’ve barely started a two-hour seminar that meets once a week—it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Now is my only time to impress the professor. Biting the edge of my lip, I nervously tap my finger against my thigh, eyeing the clock while making sure to keep my phone away from the professor’s sight. All of a sudden, the professor miraculously announces, “now is the time to leave,” for those shoppers already sure that this class for them. However, do I stay and steal a seat that opens up or dart to the restroom?
Next thing I know, I’m flushing the urinal and smiling, sighing in relief as I sprint back up the miniature stairs to the classroom. Fearful that the professor saw me disappear for two minutes, I make sure to raise my hand at the very next moment possible, even if my comment sounds premature. Sitting criss-cross applesauce for the homestretch, I tighten my core and feel myself burning calories. Two hours later, I stand up wobbly, triumphant in the success of my shopping shenanigans.