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Grand Battement of the Learned

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>Be Rose.

You have never done anything wrong, ever, in your life. Dave would probably disagree, but Dave doesn’t get a vote at the moment, as your brother has been ranting in your general direction for nearly half an hour without noticing that not five minutes in you struck up a delightful conversation about his ravings with the girl who sits next to you in your stem cell biology lecture and haven’t looked up from your phone since, though he is very much the topic of discussion.

Some might argue that you suffer from something of a penchant for meddling.

They would argue correctly, but it would be offensive to suggest such a thing overtly and as though it were a negative trait; see back to ‘things you have done wrong in your life’, of which there are, confirmed, none.

GA: Im Sorry But I Fail To Understand The Sense In Rooming With Ones Own Brother
GA: I Respect Your Judgement On Many Levels But This Seems A Remarkable Oversight

TT: Some days, I wonder if you might be right.
TT: At other intervals, though, I’m reminded of the horror stories of more senior friends whose rooming situations caused them great distress in their first years, and Dave is perfectly adequate when not so agitated over something very pointless.
TT: Our arrangement has been tenable for the past three years, and I wouldn’t think to doubt it were it not for the present situation.

GA: Your Handwave Will Suffice For Now

TT: Good to hear.

GA: My Roommate Is A Nightmare But We Have Managed To Endure Since Our First Year Despite This
GA: Partially Because I Understand I Might Be My Own Flavor Of Nightmare To A Different Roommate And One Must Choose The Devil One Knows Over That Which One Does Not

TT: Hold on, if you don’t mind, things seem to be winding down.

Complaining to Kanaya about your ridiculous brother as you mull over ways to make him less obnoxious isn’t going to get you anywhere especially pleasant, conversation-wise, but it slightly beats vague gossip about classmates, the professor, one of the more controversial readings… you’ve been running out of conversation starters, as despite your shared area of study, there seems to be precious little overlap in the circles in which you run.

“I just don’t understand how someone can be so wrong about Zombieland!” Dave is saying, at last pausing to take a breath when you tune back in, though he picks right back up again, and is pacing, now. “Egbert at least has motivations for his bullshit opinions. He’s fundamentally capable of seeing sense even with his raging boner for Bill Murray or whichever poorly thought out comedian-turned-actor he’s mooning over on any given day. He can admit it when he’s clearly spouting nonsense. I can respect the Nic Cage thing, so long as he actually fucking acknowledges it’s a thing and that he’s got a hard-on for chintz and male pattern baldness rather than any coherent reason for liking Con Air.”

You’ve gathered, peripherally, that someone in the first meeting of his upper-level media seminar has been striking some kind of nerve for your brother, all the more for the fact that he’s convinced he ought to be enjoying this class particularly given his assumed status as The Only Acceptable Film Student In The Department and the present setting of your mutual senior spring. A time to show off in a last hurrah for the underclass members, if one happens to be Dave, and one isn’t lying to oneself about one’s intentions.

“-and it’s like he’s not even trying. The bastard’s ready to dismiss whole genres because they’re ‘gross’, which is probably racist, when I think about it hard enough. But he doesn’t even know how moronic he sounds, and he couches it in fancy words and god he talks so loud, and I don’t even need to take this shitty class!”

“Drop it, then, and get the best of him by living well in his absence,” you suggest mildly, glancing back at your phone to see if Kanaya has suggested any additional topics of conversation, which she often does, but not often enough to truly gauge her interest with any reliability.

“Can you hear yourself?” he demands. “Can you hear the words you’re saying?”

“Somewhat unfortunately, I hear a lot of words, at the moment, suggesting that my capacity to do so is not compromised by my lack of interest in the present subject matter.”

“I can’t let this asshole win. Not after what he said about my homegirl Emma Stone. I’m not gonna let him beat me.”

“Might I suggest that, by fixating quite so adamantly, you are doing exactly that?”

“Nah, no way. This is actually some great material. I should be writing this shit down for the next time he says that she was better in fucking Aloha, as though Zombieland wasn’t the quintessential fucking romantic comedy if he gives so much of a shit about those, as if he wasn’t looking at the whole horror genre and its countless brilliant subversions with dumbshit blinders because he’s weird about blood -”

TT: I’m increasingly convinced that he simply needs some kind of distraction, lest our living situation become unsurvivable in our final semester.

GA: A Distraction Of What Sort

She’s replied nearly immediately, even with your absence from the keyboard. What does that mean? Most likely just that Kanaya is diligently at work on the review paper that you’re presently neglecting due to the distraction posed by your brother, and out of politeness, she’s left the window open.

TT: Something that will get him out of the apartment.
TT: An additional class? Membership to some kind of elite and heavily ironic underground organization dedicated to the discussion of memes from 2008? A cult, if that would work, frankly.

GA: Interesting
GA: And I Assume You Would Prefer He Not See This As An Overtly Meddling Gesture On Your Part

TT: Ideally.

GA: Have The Two Of You Completed Your Physical Education Credits For Our Graduation Requirement
GA: Even If You Have The Classes Rotate By The Semester Rather Than By The Year So There Will Likely Be Spaces Remaining

TT: Oh. Yes. That… requirement. For graduating. I have certainly considered that requirement extensively in the several years I have attended this school leading up to this year.
TT: The year in which I graduate.

GA: Rose Is Your Requirement Incomplete

You had considered it, in truth, towards the beginning of your first year, when you successfully completed an unremarkable badminton class and immediately broke your leg falling down the stairs. Not playing badminton, as there are few stairs involved in badminton. Somehow, you managed to mangle your leg in the most jejune circumstance imaginable, in perilously high heels during your stint on the debate team.

Dave had warned you about stairs. He found the fact that he had done this endlessly hilarious. You disagreed, but found it hard to express this as semi-violently as you might have preferred had your leg been intact.

The situation had put all thought of the PE requirement entirely out of your plans.

Well, your final semester is only beginning, much as you find that you dislike the idea that your ability to procure your diploma rests thoroughly on your commitment to yet another unenjoyable two-hour-a-week commitment.

And if you can involve Dave - has he finished his? - then this might as well be a ‘two birds, one PE class’ sort of situation.

GA: Rose

TT: There is a distinct possibility that your assumption is correct, and I am in awe of your analytical prowess.

GA: That Is Most Unfortunate
GA: I Fulfilled My Two Semester Requirement In A Series of Pilates Classes In My First Year
GA: It Was Quite Enjoyable

TT: Pilates?

GA: The Instructor Is Well Liked
GA: I Imagine That The Class Will Be Full If Not Overfull
GA: Coincidentally My Horrible Roommate Encountered The Same Problem When Attempting To Fill Her Own Incomplete Requirement As A Latecomer To The System

TT: Although I am fascinated by any glimpse into your life outside of a truly prodigious knowledge of stem cell therapies, if the class is full, I regret to say that it will pose a poor solution.

GA: Correct
GA: My Roommate Is Taking Barre Which Is Much The Same Thing I Understand
GA: She Has Complained About It
GA: Namely The Ensuing Soreness
GA: But It Is Taught By The Same Instructor And I Found Her Classes Rigorous But Enjoyable
GA: And She Complains About Most Things Given The Opportunity

TT: That is definitely something to consider, then.
TT: I’ll speak with him about the option. If necessary, I imagine I can ply him with my wiles and insist that he accompany me.
TT: He does still owe me after his shameless episode of repeating that ridiculous webcomic phrase in my infirmity.
TT: ‘Warned me about stairs’ indeed.

GA: Im Sorry What Did He Warn You About

TT: Forgive me for the memetic turn of phrase, but God, I wish that were me.

Hopefully she will be understanding of your use of memes. Picking them up has been unavoidable with your personal forays onto the internet, though your adoption of the linguistic quirks has been augmented by living with a brother like Dave. Kanaya, fortunately or unfortunately, seems to be far less of a degenerate denizen of the most questionable corners of the internet than yourself.

You notice, for the first time, that Dave has stopped talking and appears to be eating a bowl of off-brand microwaved noodles, which explains the relative silence.

“Have you completed your physical education requirement?” you ask, figuring the best strategy is generally the straightforward approach, particularly where your brother is concerned.

“Do I look like a nerd to you?” he complains through a mouthful of noodles.

“I could have sworn you were enrolled in rock climbing with John, and… was it strength training?... also with John.”

“Yeah, to be fair, I did finish rock climbing, and for that, I owe myself a swirlie, probably. But I legally have to wear a pocket protector and join a registry or a chess club or some shit if I finish another one. What if I have to wear prescription glasses, Rose? These shades don’t come with prescription lenses.”

“Dave,” you sigh. “Precisely what part of ‘graduation requirement’ was unclear to you?”

“Jade got out of hers,” he insists.

“Jade is a diagnosed narcoleptic.”

“I can’t let her do it alone. Solidarity. I’m a narcoleptic ally. What are you, some kind of ableist?”

“I’m in the same position at the moment, unfortunately. A prodigiously intelligent and distractingly beautiful woman in my biology seminar has recommended that I remedy the problem by taking a barre class. Given that you are in the same position, I thought you might be willing to accompany me.”

Dave’s thin blond eyebrows are raised high enough to be visible over his shades, which would be truly funny if you were not asking him for a favor at the moment, as cause for his skepticism.

“Your doing so would be… delightfully ironic, I imagine.”

That does it. As soon as you’ve said it, you can see, or at least picture, the gears turning in his head. Dave is not an uncomplicated person, but some of his drives are unbearably simple. The inclination towards the subversion of expectations, when leverageable for humor, is among the strongest of them.

TT: We’re in. I negotiated the online process on both of our behalfs, and delightfully enough, he’s off texting his friends about the barre class, now, and I can get some work done.
TT: I owe you my life as well as my GPA.

GA: Dont Thank Me Yet
GA: I Have Subjected You To A Terrible Fate
GA: Please Do Not Consider My Roommate A Reflection Of My Own Beliefs Or Practices

TT: There is absolutely no way she is as terrible as you are making her out to be.

GA: You Are Correct She Is Worse

TT: My combination brother-roommate just spent the better part of an hour talking my ear off about some hapless film major who offended his media sensibilities in class.
TT: I had to fundamentally alter our weekly schedules to earn a brief reprieve.
TT: Truly, I would be remiss to judge anyone by their roommate.

GA: I Will Not Preemptively Say I Told You So But I Will Subtly Reinforce The Fact That I Am Telling You Now For Future Reference
GA: And Now I Really Must Get Back To My Paper But It Has Been A Lovely Conversation As Always

TT: The sentiment is entirely mutual.
TT: I’ll see you in class next Monday. By then, we’ll have one class under our belts, and I’ll be able to offer you my thoughts.

GA: I Anticipate Them With Bated Breath
GA: Have A Lovely Evening

As a matter of fact, you will have a lovely evening. Your face feels oddly warm after speaking with Kanaya, despite the fact that you have not recently consumed a hot beverage or concluded any particular level of physical exertion. Rather than question this too extensively, you return your attention to your paper, though you open a tab to the shipping site ‘Rainforest’, evil though they may be, to order yourself and Dave some barre socks, as the webpage for the class recommends.

If the slight oddness of your phrasing, here, and the peculiarity of your complete ignorance of even the most basic of your own feelings, actually strikes you, at this point, you forget it quickly in the excitement of completing your assignment and anticipating your next opportunity to share some noteworthy observation with Kanaya.

Additionally, you are finally going to get your PE credit, which is perhaps the most non-negligible win of the evening. Excellent!