I’m not a super outdoorsy person (shocking, I know) and I think it’s mainly because most outdoor things involve lots of moving and physical effort. However, one thing I do really enjoy doing outdoors is reading. I feel very old-fashioned and relaxed and like I should be in a Jane Austen novel or something. I don’t know, don’t question me on that one. The point is, when I first looked over the syllabus for my poetry class and saw a day parked as “Outdoor Reading” I didn’t think much of it. Well, yesterday was that day and let me tell you there was relaxing about it.
It turns out that “Outdoor Reading” does not mean reading while you’re outdoors. Nope. What it actually means is doing a poetry reading outside, as in reading aloud, outdoors, in the middle of campus. Yupp, that’s right we had to casually do a poetry reading that was worth 5% of our grade as tons of students walked by and pretended like you weren’t doing something odd. As I realized this, my anxiety started spiraling and I started brainstorming ways I could skip class, even though I was already in class. I can’t think of anything I would want to do less than go outside and read poetry in front of a bunch of random people, but pretty soon everyone was putting their coats on and standing up and somehow I ended up getting shuffled out the door with the rest of them.
It turned out to be not as bad as I imagined. I severely underestimated how anti-social my generation is, because literally not one person stopped to listen to us. In fact, anyone who walked by went out of their way to avoid looking at us and half of them had headphones in anyway. I also forgot how nice it is to just walk around outside on a good, crisp, fall night. I can’t remember the last time I walked somewhere without either rushing because I was late or being bitter that I was “working out,” but the lazy pace of our stroll around campus was nice. It was also kinda cool to talk to the people in my class outside of the classroom. I keep being surprised that the other folks in my grad classes also want to be there as much as possible and have the knowledge to bring up poets and poems in normal conversation. I love being able to nerd out every once in a while.
All in all, I guess last night was a pretty good push outside my comfort zone and I didn’t have an awful time doing it. But from here on out I will definitely be on the lookout for any other syllabi that try to be tricky and lull me into submission.