It was Jason’s first semester of college. Most of his classes were standard fare for freshmen. English, history, mathematics — classes all of the freshmen took, nothing much major specific. The one class he was taking that touched on his major was a basic “Introduction to Computers” class that the entire student body was required to complete in order to graduate. But, he’d have to complete it before taking any other classes in his majors, so, anxious to work his way into the higher level courses, he signed up for it first thing.
After the first week, he began to think the class was a waste of time. Who didn’t know how to use a mouse? Really, it was just ridiculous. After the second week, he had breezed through an entire semester’s worth of assignments in various basic programs that all the students had been using since they could walk, and had even completed assignment on HTML — although he just copied code from his existing page. But, the class was below him, so why put effort into an assignment like that? By the Monday of the third week, he was going to ask the professor if he had to physically attend class anymore. There was nothing left for him to do and playing on the internet in the lab didn’t have the same appeal as playing on the internet in his dorm room. Namely, he couldn’t play any of his massive multi-player online games. But then, something changed his mind.
Jason had never noticed it before, but his neighbor in the lab had quite a hard time getting the computer to do what they needed it to do. Jason paid them little attention. He couldn’t even say whether his neighbor was a male or female. He’d never looked their way, really. He just listened to them. Fingers flew over the keyboard and the number pad, never a pause, just continuous “clack-ity-clack-clack.” Anything but the actual typing, though? That was an entirely different story. For example, everyday when the students had to pull up their programs or documents:
A constant struggle. “Oh, for crying out loud,” he murmured. If Jason had to hear that delay between clicks one more time, he was going to have to strangle someone. How simple was it to double click an icon? He pushed himself back from the desk a bit and turned toward his neighbor. “There’s too much of a pause between your clicks,” he explained in a huff. “Real quick. Cli-click.”
Then Jason got a better look at who he was talking to.
And he began wondering if he had any tape back in the dorm.
‘Cause chances were his glasses were going to get broken.
He was older than Jason, taller than Jason, better built than Jason, more tanned than Jason, and scowling at Jason. All of those pointed to an ass kicking in Jason’s experience. Before he could apologize profusely, dash out the door and find a small out of the way spot to hide, his neighbor‘s expression softened. He scratched the back of his head absentmindedly and looked away. Then, in a rather sheepish voice, he explained, “I don’t use computers much.”
Jason blinked. That certainly hadn‘t gone as expected. “D-d-don’t worry about it,” he stammered. Danger may have been averted for the minute, but he still needed to step lightly. He laughed nervously. Normally, Jason detested giving free computer help. The “No, I will not fix your computer.” sign on his dorm room door had been posted the morning he moved in. A few hours later, an “Unless you pay me $50.” sign appeared bellow it and since then he’d been rolling in the dough. But, in this case, he’d make an exception.
“It’s easy,” Jason said. Immediately, he wondered if there was a way to retract the statement. Easy wasn’t universal, it was very subjective. And subjective might earn him that ass kicking he’d envisioned. He reached across his neighbor to the mouse, placing his hand on top of the other boy’s. He positioned it over the icon on the screen and double clicked. “There, see?” Jason withdrew, then sat watching and hoping.
His neighbor closed on the window Jason had just opened. (Single clicks he could handle.) Then tried his hand at this double clicking business again.
Cli-click. Window open.
“Nothing to it.” Again, Jason had the faint taste of foot in his mouth.
His neighbor turned to him and broke a small smile. “Thanks.”
As the essence of foot dissipated, a fait heat rose in Jason’s cheeks. He tried to answer, but other things were on his mind. And if he opened his mouth, he was afraid they’d leak out. Instead, he just nodded, made an “Mmm-hmm” sound and went back to his own computer. How’d he never noticed this before?
In the end, Jason stayed in the class. Being self-appointed personal tutor to a rather attractive junior had its benefits. And those benefits far out weighed the extra hour he could spend killing aliens online each morning. (Did he mention he was rather attractive?) Jason, of course, passed with flying colors. His tutoree, on the other hand, managed a meager “B,” which they both considered quite good considering.
“I never asked,” Jason said as they walked out of their final exam. “But, how do you get around using a computer? I mean, you’ve got to type up your papers and stuff, right?” He already knew about the beloved calculator. Accounting majors seemed to be quite attached to them.
Jason stopped in his tracks. A typewriter? How could he possibly be attracted to such a luddite?! Sure, they always said opposites attract, but…
“I will get Chinese without you,” the voice broke him from his reverie.
“Huh?“ The one blonde chased after the other. “Hey, Calvin, wait up!”