The world's worst study buddy
Last night Clayton learned the hard way that I am the world’s most obnoxious person to study with.
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“Say ‘femur’ one more time, baby. Come on, just one more time.”
Last night was business as usual in our house. After a dinner of reheated corn chowder, Clay excused himself upstairs to our bedroom to study. I sprawled out on the couch like a gelatinous pile of mush, flipping between the newest episode of 19 Kids and Counting and Cupcake Wars while struggling to keep my eyes open. A tension headache and a chilly evening run left me feeling puny and worn out. Deciding there was no point in fighting the inevitable, I turned off the TV at 9:30 p.m. and got ready for bed.
A few minutes later I crawled into bed next to Clayton who was propped against our pillows, reading through his textbook and taking notes. I snuggled my face into his stomach, closed my eyes and asked him to read to me.
“You want me to read to you, out loud, from a college-level anatomy book?” he asked, a little too grumpily for my taste.
“Yes, it’ll be like a really boring bedtime story for really uninteresting adults,” I said, yawning.
I have no trouble admitting that I’ve never really been good at science. I always had to read the same paragraph over and over again before I could even begin to absorb the material, and even then I would forget everything immediately after the test or quiz. I understand science on a very basic, very elementary level and it doesn’t take too many big words tossed my way before I become overly confused and lose interest completely.
That being said, the only way to keep me mentally present and invested in what’s going on is for me to ask questions. Lots of questions.
Clayton began to read his long, boring story that had a terrible plot and absolutely zero intriguing characters. “The cell membrane, also known as the plasma membrane, surrounds the cell,” he droned on. “It consists of lipids, proteins and carbohydrates that are imperative in both the structure and function of the cell.”
“Proteins and carbs?” I interrupted. “You mean like peanut butter and bread?”
Clayton sighed. “It may come as a surprise to you, but your cells are not filled with actual storages of peanut butter and bread. Proteins and carbs are organic compounds that serve vital functions in ways that have nothing to do with Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.”
He paused to rub his temples, “ANYWAY, the cell membrane acts as a barrier and if it becomes damaged, the cell’s contents can leak through.”
“Kind of like border patrol?”
“Yes, I suppose that’s one way of looking at it … and kudos to you for making science a little racist.” He flipped the page of his textbook so aggressively it tore at the bottom.
“Keep going,” I urged. “This is putting me to sleep nicely.”
I could tell Clayton was starting to debate how much longer he was going to humor me. He sighed again, this time more deeply and irritably. “Cell membranes are differentially permeable barriers separating the inner cellular environment from the external environment."
I tapped my finger on the page. “What does 'permeable' mean? I’ve heard the word before, but I’m not sure about its definition.”
“Permeable means it can be easily penetrated.”
My eyes grew wide and I sat up in bed. “Ha! Easily penetrated. Just like—”
As I was about to make a perverted retort, Clayton snapped his book shut. “And they all lived happily ever after. The end."