It’s early December 1992 — almost ten years ago! — and I’m in my girlfriend’s residence (to my American friends, a “residence” is what you call a “dorm”) room. We’re both studying for our fall term finals. I’m hanging out at her place — partially because it’s still very early in the relationship and we can’t get enough of each other, and partially because my other two housemates are exes, and one of them might’ve brought a boy home. I’m up for some boy-girl drama tonight, but not the kind that might be taking place at my flat.
This building — Waldron Tower, a.k.a. “Wally World” — was built in the 1970’s, so it’s a combination of ugly and unergonomic. The hallway layout doesn’t make any sense and the rooms are tiny. The only advantages they have over the other, larger residences room on campus is that this building’s rooms have lots of electrical outlets and their own sinks. A large Marc Chagall poster (her favourite artist at the time) and a few souvenirs of her trip to Europe that summer (her first trip overseas) cover the wall above her bed. The room is covered with Post-It Notes with Cyrillic writing on them; labelling objects is her way of building her vocabulary for her Russian class. In the corner of the room is her ghetto blaster, which is tuned to the only decent radio station in town, the university-run CFRC. Rob Bolton, who now is one of the people behind Global Pop Conspiracy, is on the air.
I’m lying on the bed, furiously writing down key information for my computer networks bring-any-handwritten-notes final (I still have those notes; you can see them here). She’s at her desk, cramming for her Russian exam. After putting the finishing touches on my notes on the 7 layers of the OSI network model, I pick up the phone and call the radio station to make a request. “It’s for me and a fray-end“, I say, using the then-current country-twang slang term for person with whom you’re going out, but not quite ready to label as ‘girlfriend’. Truth be told, I was ready to use the term almost from the get-go; I just didn’t want to scare her off. Rob, hipster DJ that he is (even in spite of adopting the now regrettable sobriquet “DJ Rave”), understands.
I suggest that she find out how to write “stud muffin” in Russian on a Post-It Note and affix it to me. I get a smack on the back of the head, followed closely by a peck on the cheek. She scribbles “XOXOXO” in the margins of one of my pristine notes. Normally, this is a capital crime in my books, but coming from her, it doesn’t bother me a bit. Days later, I’ll see this little note from her while writing my exam and smile; the combination of my good note-taking, studying and the boost from her scribbling will net me an “A”.
The song that’s playing on the radio comes to an end and Rob comes on.
This gets me another kiss, and I think to myself: it’s good to be the king.