I had good grades in high school. Good enough to land myself a full-ride [+ some] scholarship to Arizona State University. I had good grades there, too.
…I took CIS 180 (Computer Information Systems or some blather). It was basically an introduction to computers. I tried to work through it on a PC, even though it was written for both PCs and Macs, and I was raised Mac.
“PCs are taking over the world,” I reasoned archaically, “so I might as well jump on the bandwagon.” [I have since learned the errors of my ways. Tenfold. I will never again turn away from the glory that is Mac–at least as long as Steve Jobs is alive and out of federal penitentiary.]
But besides that, my life was nevertheless askew. I was going through a very…shall we say…defining time. In other words, I was totally out of it. My life, that is. I was dating a guy who I knew was all wrong for me. I should say, though, that despite my life in limbo, I still made some wonderful memories that semester. Like skydiving. And wing nights at Native New Yorker. And playing Make Me Laugh for hours on end.
But I digress.
I took a class learning on different computers than I was used to, during the stupidest time in my life. Needless to say, I failed CIS 180–failed so badly they didn’t even give me an “F.” I got an “E” for whatever “E” stood for [it slips my mind]. I lost my scholarship. Lost it, and lost it good. I was going to quit college altogether. I loathed ASU, I’d distanced myself from my parents, and I really needed to gain perspective.
Someday I’ll delve deeper into the perspective I eventually found. For now, I want to show you what I did do in my CIS 180 class, (when I decided to show up) since I clearly was determined not to learn anything:
Inspired by the girl doodling next to me, I took it upon myself to fill in the entire back cover of my steno notebook completely…with tiny circles. You have no idea how long and tedious a process this actually is; in time, my quest morphed into something different…something much more profound. Instead of filling in the entire back cover, I let my eyes glaze over, my mind wander off, and my hand toil away. Class after class I drew tiny circles, and before long I’d created the form of a being–a being that has been a cause of deep introspection in years since.
My steno person took on a life of its own. Soon, I jotted down a few choice words to spice up the doodle: “laugh,” “golf,” “becaSUE.” Whether because I heard those words during class lectures, I thought they would add meaning to my creation, or I just figured they would be fun to write, I cannot recall.
Some more details:
I gave my creature eyes, but no mouth–maybe it was my outward depiction of how I was taking a spectator’s stance on my own life (i.e. observing, but never speaking my mind). Or maybe I just liked the squiggle the “h” served for said purpose.
Why did I spell “because” incorrectly? Did I secretly wish I’d been named “Sue?” Was it merely an oversight? Is it actually an anagram for something else? Some secret code I’ve since forgotten? I might never know.
Whatever the reason for it and its nuances, I’ve come to view this doodle as a sort of abstract version of myself–my unreserved, “let-it-all-hang-out” self. I have long since tossed away the accompanying notes from CIS 180 [what sparse notes I took]. That class meant nothing to me. But I cannot bring myself to discard this doodle.
What should I do with it?
*p.s. I retook CIS 180 few semesters later, and scored a 99%, receiving the highest grade on the final exam out of the entire class. It was all a matter of timing, I suppose. Timing and perspective.