Economics 101, a Novel, ch_04 -- Going by Four

[JMR20170225: The second draft of this part starts here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.jp/2017/02/soc500-02-01-boys-talk.html.

]
(The framing story starts is here: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.jp/2016/03/economics-101-novel-ch00.html. If you haven't read that, you might want to. Otherwise, the rest of this may not make much sense.

We introduced Bobbie here: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch01-introducing.html.

And we introduced Karel here: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch02-introducing.html.

And Bobbie and Karel finally met each other here: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch03-introducing.html.

If you don't care about characterization, you might want to jump ahead: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.jp/2016/03/economics-101-novel-ch10-bobbie-and.html.)

What am I doing here? I'm out of my depth writing about socializing social events. Avoided them like the plague. Give me a dance, where I can just ride the rhythm of the music, or a football game, where the focus is out on the field.

Oh, well. None of the characters in this story am I, and all of the characters am I. This is my first novel. Let's see what I can do with it.

[JMR201605221954: Of course I needed to fill in a few more details.
Original backed up at http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/backup-jmr20160522-economics-101-novel.html
]



"Suddenly I'm thinking the apartment off campus is not so great." Dan was grumbling as he and Karel left the Education Building.

"Why is that?"

"Re-you Tenny Hannah. No. Yo-yo Bennie Hannah. What's that Japanese saying?"

"I'm not recognizing anything you are saying, here."

"What happened back there. The best-looking girls in the whole lecture, and there they are sitting either side of you."

"Sheer coincidence."

"And when you found the holes in the other teams' defense on the football field, that was sheer coincidence, too."

"I still don't really understand how I could dig those holes in the defense."

"Drove the coaches up a wall. You'd be out there, totally out of position, looking like you had just wandered onto the field, and suddenly there'd be nobody around you. And when I looked at the right time, so I could get it to you, you'd take the ball and go for what we needed."

"I think it had something to do with me being in my own world a lot. I had different goals than most of the players. But it doesn't explain much."

"That's exactly what the coaches said. And it was why the team waived you after the second year."

"They didn't know what to do with me. Now, what does this have to do with reasons for me to end up ryoh-te-ni-hana. That was what you were trying to say, wasn't it? Flower in either hand?"

(If you can display Kanji: 「両手に花」)

"Yeah. That one. Uhm. So, ... what does it have to do with ...? Well, ... uhhmm You weren't doing what everyone else was doing?"

"Right."

"Okay, so I and all the other guys are looking to get a date. And get married. And you are not."

"I think that's why some women feel comfortable around me."

"So all I have to do is quit trying to get a date?"

"I don't think it's quite that simple. The minute I ask a woman to go out, she usually runs away."

"And that's why you still aren't married."

"I guess."

"And we've had this conversation before."

"True. I've gotta get to my next class."

"Okay, 6:30 in the university president's garden, right?"

"Seems a bit early to me, but that's what they said, and we agreed."

"Later."

"Yeah, later."



[JMR20170225: The second draft of this part continues here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.jp/2017/02/soc500-02-02-girl-talk.html.
]

Kristie looked at her reflection in the mirror, holding her hair up and letting it fall, trying to decide whether to put her hair up for the graduate students' opening social or leave it down. The mirror she was using was the full-length mirror in the living room that she shared with the five other women in the apartment.

"Do you think the guys find me attractive, Bobbie?"

"Hunh? What?" Bobbie was sitting on the floor in hers and Kristie's bedroom, checking her textbooks.

"I always worry about whether the guys find me attractive."

Bobbie leaned sideways and looked at Kristie's back through the doorway. "So you did just ask whether I thought the guys found you attractive."

"Yes, ..."

Bobbie got up and came into the living room and stood behind Kristie and put her hands on her shoulders. "Kristine Person, ..." Then she examined Kristie's hair and her face, shaping her hair and lifting it in various styles, letting Kristie look at the effect. "... you know that's not the right question. What do you think of this?"

Kristie shook her head. "No that's not me. Too exotic. Well, the Sunday School teachers always said we shouldn't worry too much, but how are we supposed to find a husband if we don't make ourselves attractive?"

"Okay, picking a wrong question to answer first, yes, the guys find you attractive. But which guys? How's this?"

Kristie's face clouded. "That's not fair, asking which guy. No, I'd feel off balance with my hair up that high."

"I didn't say which guy, I said which guys. As in, I would bet Karel and Dan will both find you quite attractive enough, even without you doing your hair up, or even using makeup. How's a tight bun, like this?"

"That's nice of you to say. Maybe, but not today. It'd take too long to do it right."

"I don't think you should worry about guys who don't find you attractive. They don't really matter to you. Have you ever bobbed your hair?" Bobbie cupped her hands under Kristie's hair and lifted it close to her ears.

"Don't matter? Really? Don't you worry about it? I mean, sure, you're the kind of girl just about any guy would find attractive. Yes, I have, but that's so, what? like a tom-boy. I bobbed it in high school."

Bobbie smoothed Kristie's hair out and took her by the shoulders and turned her around to face her. "So are you. Half the guys on campus would kill to get a date with you, and the other half would die for you. And these two guys, Dan and Karel, I think, will behave themselves courteously, instead of any of that. ... I wonder, though, have you never wished certain guys wouldn't find you attractive?"

"You mean, guys who try to push themselves on you?"

"Uh, huh."

"Yes, I guess I have." Kristie's face clouded again, in mixed emotions.

"Once, when I was a freshman," she continued, "I was walking alone on a road off-campus, and a bunch of creeps came up behind me in a car and started whistling and howling and stuff. They tried to get me in the car with them."

"Oooh. That's terrible."

Then her face cleared. "But then this really cool guy came along and told them, 'Get out of here!'. And they did. He walked me the rest of the way to campus to make sure I got to my next class okay."

"Wow!"

"I didn't find out who he was until later."

"You didn't ask his name?"

"I was a freshman. He was an upper classman. I was too awestruck, I guess."

"But you did find out who he was?"

"It was Karel Pratt."

"Oh!"

"When I found out who he was, I started going to all the football games to see him. That's how I got interested in football."

"So, you've had a crush on Karel for a while?"

"I've been in love with him for six years! I was disappointed today that he had forgotten me, but here he is in the same class with me! You won't take him away from me, will you?"

Bobbie blinked. She thought for a moment, and said, "Six years to think you're in love with someone you don't really know is [JMR201609041908: a ] long time -- long enough to develop a lot of wrong ideas about him. He might not be your white knight after all, ..."

"I went on a mission partly because I heard he thought it was okay for women to go if they wanted to teach people about Jesus."

Something inside Bobbie was crumbling. She'd known various kinds of disappointment before, and, somehow, she had been almost expecting disappointment this time, too. But facing this kind of internal conflict was going to be awfully hard. The dreams she had been thinking she might be ready to permit herself would have have to be postponed for a while.

The nurse inside took over. "Well, like I say. Don't worry about your looks. The guys that are important will like you anyway. At least, that's what my mom says."

Mary Whitmer had not always said such things. But she said such things now, and it was more important for Kristie to hear the conclusion than to hear the history of how Bobbie and her mother had come to such a conclusion.

"In that case, I think I'll just be lazy and go with my hair down."

"Good idea. I think I'll do the same. It's getting about time to go, anyway. The point is, real love takes time to negotiate. There's lots to learn about each other."

"I think I can do that."



[JMR20170225: The second draft of this part continues here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.jp/2017/02/soc500-02-03-social.html.
]

Karel was a little early. He had a class until 5:30, so he skipped dinner and walked down to the president's residence, arriving before six. As is typical among Mormons, since he was among the first to arrive, he [JMR201609041909: get got ] drafted to help. And he found himself at the front sidewalk, passing out ditto copies of the ice-breaker scavenger hunt instructions when Bobbie and Kristie came.

"Karel! Are you on the committee?" Kristie asked.

"Nah, I got here too early and got drafted."

"How long are you going to be doing that?"

"I guess until I run out of these or someone relieves me."

Bobbie had a suggestion: "Well, let us help you."

So Karel shared his stack of the instructions with Kristie and Bobbie.

Kristie also had a suggestion: "We can do one of these as a group, ask people questions as they come in. I'll write the answers down."

Dan joined them a few minutes later, and the four of them passed out the scavenger hunt instructions, demonstrating the game by asking faculty and other students the questions on the form as they arrived.

After about an hour, a couple of committee members relieved them, thanking them for helping get the festivities going.

Since they had already, as a group, finished the scavenger hunt, and weren't feeling like doing another one as individuals, they just wandered around together, talking with each other and talking with the professors and other students and eating some of the refreshments -- you know, doing the basic social activity stuff that we now call networking.

At one point, Karel got involved in a mock debate the Young Democrats and the Young Republicans were having, joining on the side of the Democrats. Bobbie then joined the Republicans. Dan and Kristie stood and listened, laughing when someone said something humorous, and trying not to look bored when the discussion heated up.

After about a half an hour, when the debate was clearly heading for a third time around in a circle, Karel and Bobbie decided they'd had enough and said goodbye. Before they left, all four had been invited to join in the campus political organizations.

About eight thirty, Karel said, "Well, I don't know about you guys, but I'm hungry."

"Is it your treat, Karel?" Dan joked.

"Now, Dan, there's no call for that!" Bobbie chided with a laugh. "We'll go double Dutch."

Which Dan corrected, "Quadruple Dutch? Anyway, I know a burger shop below campus that makes a decent cheeseburger for a pair of dimes."

Kristie said, "My friends would just say 'Dutch'. But if we're going to eat someplace, buying our own is fine by me."

Karel said, "I was thinking about the cafeteria in the student union. Since I'm living on campus, I can get a discount and we Dan and I could split the bill. But hamburgers sounds good to me, too, if everyone's okay with that. I think it'd be a shorter walk all around."

And that's what they did, talking about classes and university life, and a little about future plans, while they walked to the hamburger shop.

[JMR201605221954
Aren't you curious about what they ordered? No?

Yes, you are.

"What c'n we do ya for?" (The owner was running the grill and taking orders that evening. He was originally a Texan, and the theme of the shop was Texan, and the service was Texan. Texans deliberately play games with grammar. We seem to think it makes life interesting.)

Dan said, "Women first."

Kristie asked Bobbie, "What are you going to get?"

"I'll have just a single hamburger, with onions, lettuce, and tomatoes."

"What'll ya have to drink?"

"Just water, please."

"How about you, Miss?"

Kristie said, "Same for me, but with a lemon soda."

"And the guys?"

Karel said, "I'll have a cheeseburger, with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. And a cherry cola."

And Dan said, "I'll have a cheeseburger, with pickles and ketchup. And water."

"All together?"

Karel said, "Yes."

And Bobbie said, "Separate checks, please."

But Dan insisted, "The guys are treating. We'll split the tab later."

And Kristie said, "It's okay, Bobbie, isn't it?" 

And Bobbie laughed. "Sure. Just this once."
]

And the conversation continued while they ate and while they walked back to the girls' apartment.

After Dan and Karel said goodnight, Kristie and Bobbie went inside.

"So, did anybody get any lip?" their roommate Wendy asked.

Kristie replied. "We just met them today. Give us a break."

"So it was boring." Wendy was insistent.

Bobbie said, slightly pedantically, "These socials are for meeting the professors and other grad students. It's not supposed to be especially exciting or romantic or whatever."

"You're just jealous, Wendy, leave it alone," said Jennifer. "You guys can give us a play-by-play when Wendy isn't around."

"No, really," Kristie responded, "we didn't plan on this being romantic. If it goes that way, it goes that way. If it doesn't, you know, it's nice to have friends." It seems that Kristie had taken Bobbie's lead well.

Joy, who was curled up on the sofa reading a romance novel, complained, "You two are just too cool to believe."

Michelle, in the kitchen, asked, "So which of you is angling for which of them?"

And Bobbie said, "To be honest, I'm not sure right now which one I'd rather start taking an interest in, if I do. I'm just going to go with the flow."

After a few more tries, the roommates gave in and let it alone for the night.

After the lights were out and prayers said, Kristie whispered from across the room. "Bobbie?"

"Mmm? Yeah?"

"Thanks."

"One step at a time, Kristie. I'm not yielding the field, just trying to make sure everyone has a fair chance. Dan, too. He's a pretty decent guy."

"Anyway, thanks."

"Sure."

What each said in their own prayers is their own business, but I'll note that all four of them mentioned gratitude for new friends in their prayers. 



[JMR20170225: The second draft of this part continues here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2017/02/soc500-02-04-studying-dancing.html.
]

On Wednesday, Bobbie and Karel ended up in the same section of the undergraduate level course in island culture.

"Hello again, stranger!"

"Oh! Hi, Bobbie. Should we sit where we can compare notes?"

"That'd be okay. It's a shame Kristie and Dan won't be taking this class."

Karel laughed. "Maybe that'd be a bit too much together. Are we taking more of the same classes?"

"Let me see your schedule."

"Let's sit down first."

"How a about over there on the right, at the front?"

Having sat down, they laid their schedules out to compare them.

"So," Karel said, "we'll be in the same section of the experimental lab in ancient technologies."

"That'll be a fun class."

(More then just fun, that course would be a lifesaver for them.)

"That looks like all for this semester."

The professor came in about then and introduced himself.

"We'll be covering about ten differing island regions," he said. "Many of them have had fairly advanced cultures during their histories, and there is quite a lot of material to cover. We won't be able to cover it all in class, so you should plan on a lot of homework, and also plan on forming or joining study groups."

After the lecture, Bobbie and Karel talked about when they could meet in the library to study together, and several other students came around to ask if they could also join their study group.

Tuesday and Thursday evenings seemed to work best.



The four of them were together again for the interdepartmental education class again on Thursday. After the class, they talked about doing a study group together.

Karel said, "Bobbie and I are thinking we'll get together in the library with some of the other anthropology students to study together."

And Bobbie added, "We thought we could do the same for this class.

Dan and Kristie both thought this was a good idea.

"When are you getting together?" asked Kristie?

Bobbie answered, "We're thinking of Tuesday and Thursday evenings, at least, for now."

"I could probably do that," Dan said.

"Me, too," said Kristie. "What time and where?"

Karel said, "Tonight, after I finish eating dinner at the dorm cafeteria, I'll run up to the library's first floor study area, and then we'll figure out where from there."

"So, between six thirty and seven, tonight?" Dan asked.

"And see where it goes from there," replied Karel. "I need to get to my next class."

"Which way are you going?" asked Kristie.

"Science building."

"I'm going the same direction."

"Let's walk together."

"How about you?" Dan asked Bobbie.

"I'm going to study at the library for about an hour. Are you going that way?"

"Yeah. I don't have a class now, and I probably should park my books somewhere and figure out what I need to study."

And they left together, separately.




About 9:30 that evening, the four of them walked back to the girls' apartment together, discussing Plato's theories and Locke's theories as they went, with Karel tossing in ideas from Von Neumann and Turing, just to keep the discussion lively.

[JMR201605221954
Bobbie was unimpressed. "Quit dragging engineering stuff in."

"But this is about machines that think and learn."

Dan sided with Bobbie. "That's science fiction."

And Kristie defended Karel. "Maybe for now, but science fiction seems to predict the future a lot."

"It's not the technology. It's the math."

Even Kristie didn't know what to say to that.
]

At the apartment, as Dan and Karel were about to leave, Dan asked, "Does anyone besides me like to dance?"

And Bobbie replied, "Does a duck swim?"

Karel and Kristie admitted they enjoyed dancing, too.

Dan explained, "Our stake is having a back-to-school dance on Friday night. Should we all go together?"

(A stake, in this context, would comprise several smaller congregations of members of the Church, roughly a thousand students. Not all of those students, of course, would attend the dance party.)

"Sounds like fun." And everyone agreed.

But Kristie was a little anxious. As they watched Dan and Karel leave, she asked, "Bobbie, who is going to dance with whom?"

Bobbie turned to her and smiled and said, "I think we'll just have fun with whoever is handy at the moment."




Which was how it worked out.

When they arrived at the dance, Karel suggested that they should not be exclusive, and they danced with some of the others who came, as well as with each other. At one point, when everyone was dancing the Charleston, and Kristie and Bobbie were a little winded, Dan and Karel did parts of the Charleston together while the girls sat out.

[JMR201605221954
Bobbie seemed to be interested more in the faster dances where they could do formation dances as a group of four, or join with some of the others in larger formations.

Karel wanted to dance every dance, and he wanted to take turns with both Bobbie and Kristie on pair dances.

When Karel and Kristie were dancing, Dan and Bobbie would sometimes dance, sometimes they would sit the dance out, just talking at the side of the hall.  

About eleven o'clock, Bobbie said, "I've got work tomorrow, so I'm going to turn into a pumpkin early.

And Kristie said, "I should probably turn in a little early, too, so I can work on my homework tomorrow."

So Karel and Dan walked them back to their apartment.

While they were walking, Dan said, "You know, they have ballroom dance classes here."

Karel said, "Sounds like a suggestion. We could join a class together."

Kristie concurred. "I think that would be fun."

Bobbie also thought it was a good idea. "I'd like that. Let's do it."
]




The next Monday, the four of them were in line together at the registration desk, to add one more class, ballroom dance.

[JMR20609042037 -- Now that the characterization is done, I don't need this:

And the next semester, they took folk dance together, and then they took more dance classes together in the following semesters. But they didn't take ballet or modern dance classes together, even though Bobbie suggested it from time to time.

]



[JMR201609042042: For the next two years, tT]he four of them would often be seen together, studying, dancing, attending football game and other events, participating in service projects, and so forth.

They weren't the most well known group informal group on campus, but they became somewhat well known. With Karel and Kristie in the Young Republicans and Bobbie and Dan in the Young Democrats, their foursome was sometimes referred to as "the cross-party-party".

Some of the more politically inclined students called them "détente", but this was several years before the official US-Soviet thawing. So Bobbie and Karel explained it to Kristie and Dan, and they all laughed about it.


[JMR201609042049 -- And this goes elsewhere:
They deliberately took an inter-department course together for the each of next three semesters, too, and their group of four would form the core of study groups. Those study groups would become popular, and would sometimes split, with two of them leading one and two the other. When the study groups split, which of the four paired with which was determined by convenience more than anything else.

Within their majors, Bobbie and Karel became the core of several anthropology study groups over the next two years, and Kristie and Dan shepherded several groups for students in the education programs.

As for dating, they dated outside their group when they did any pair dating, which was not often. Somehow, they didn't seem to want to do anything that might split their group of four up.

They didn't seem inclined to do much pair dating, and when they did, it was usually outside their group. They really didn't want to risk splitting their group of four up.

]

There were some letters home that they wrote. You might find them informative: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.jp/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch04-going-by-four-letters-home.html.

The link to the next of the characterization chapters will be here when it's ready is here: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch05-first-semester.html, but you probably do want to read those letters home, first.

(The chapter index is here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.jp/2016/04/economics-101-novel-index.html)

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