Fahrenheit 52

The Seminar

I arrive eleven minutes early.

I claim my intended seat, third from the entrance, conveniently next to the chalkboard.

I arrange my fully-charged Apple MacBook Air M2 Midnight Blue laptop, my black leather Moleskine notebook, my Studio Neat Mark One orange limited-edition retractable pen, and my plastic Dasani water bottle (with the labeled removed, obviously) on the table.

I lift my pen and click it several times.

I return my laptop to my purple Jansport backpack.

I enscribe today's date and then "First Class Session", underlined twice, in my notebook.

I enhance the "S" in "Session" into a "cool S."

I spy the round clock hung above the doorway.

I observe the red second hand rotate for three full minutes.

I am alone.

I cough, loudly, to attract attention from a hopeful passerby through the open door.

I return my laptop to the desk and rifle through open tabs until I find the Blackboard learning management system website.

I confirm that I am indeed in the correct classroom, ICC-672, for Professor Sargrove's highly-coveted "Beyond Meaning" advanced philosophy course.

I rise.

I poke my head through the door.

I consider the possibility that I am the only enrolled student in this highly-coveted course.

I reject this possibilty.

I consider the possibility that each student in Professor Sargrove's course has been sent to a separate, similarly unmarked, classroom.

I accept this possibility.

I consider the possibility that this situation is indeed our first lesson in "Beyond Meaning."

I accept this possibility, too.

I scour ICC-672 for meaning.

I empty the grey trashbin onto the table alongside my every-day-carry.

I detach a greasy receipt from The Tombs for a Chicken #2 sandwich that has been stuck to a postcard of the statue of the founder of my university with presumably Big Red chewing gum.

I put two and two together.

I gather my crap and flee the room.

I take the stairs.

I burst through the lobby doors.

I sprint across Red Square.

I jog through the quad.

I slow to a walk through the front gates.

I pick up my pace on the cobblestones.

I descend into The Tombs.

I order a Chicken #2 to-go and a Tomb's Ale for-here from the bartender.

I chug the beer.

I tap my contactless credit card on one of those payment things.

I snag the thin plastic bag containing the styrofoam-encased Chicken #2.

I race back to campus through the front gates.

I expect to see my fellow "Beyond Meaning" classmates here, assembling in front of John Carroll's statue.

I am alone.

I understand they must indeed have alternate quests.

I step through the morning glories surrounding our founder.

I climb onto his bronzed feet.

I place the styrofoam to-go box in Father Carroll's lap.

I rest on a nearby bench.

I wait for Professor Sargrove to arrive and enlighten me.

I am revelatory.

I am ecstatic.

I am nihilistic.

I am but a mere drop in a vast ocean of nothingness.

I am hungry.

I smell the Chicken #2 and the mountain french fries it lies upon.

I consider eating some of the french fries before Professor Sargrove arrives.

I take out my phone.

I check my email.

I find an email from Sargroves.

I read it.

I stand up.

I walk over to our dear Jesuit.

I remove the styrofoam box from his lap.

I eat the sandwich and fries on the way back to my dorm.

I wonder how Professor Sargroves got COVID.

I decide to drop the now Zoom-only class.