SATs, Catholic Boys, and Combovers

My life is peculiar, and from the peculiarities I get to experience many things – things which generally leave me quite thoroughly entertained.

Today, for example.

It was time to take the SAT. I signed up for this months ago via the internet, and I’d been pleasantly surprised to discover that there was an American school in the province next to mine. It was only a week or two ago that I looked up the school on Google, intending to find directions and check in with the headmaster to make sure everything was on schedule; but instead I made a grand discovery which left me laughing for the rest of the day: I had signed up to take my SAT at a private Catholic boarding school only for boys.

And I laugh madly. Oh, boy.

Feeling highly amused with the mere thought of what might await me (awkward scholastic types in uniform, incapable of speaking to females, etc.), I awoke at 5am, drove the two and a half hours with my parents, and arrived at the school out in the middle of Spanish mountains. We were met by a secretary and the teacher in charge of the SAT – both were women, oddly enough, but it left me thinking that perhaps I had a completely false preoconception of what this day would be like.

I didn’t.

And I discovered as much about a minute later, as I roamed down the empty hallway towards the classroom. It was only a few steps, really, when I suddenly stumbled upon four boys in matching pants and haircuts and shoes, who all somehow managed to spin around and awkwardly sit down on one couch at once (it was a badly timed mutual sitting process which I can’t seem to explain, but it really comes down to this: I interrupted their pleasant existences, and they immediately stuffed themselves into a fluffy white couch in retaliation.)

And then they all just kind of stared at me, as if they had no idea what they were supposed to do.

“Hi,” I say.


There may have been a mumble, or a nod or something in return, I’m not really sure; but whatever happened, it ended in me turning around after about two seconds to nonchalantly stare at a bulletin board sporadically covered in SAT reminders. The teacher lady passed by a moment later, so I flitted on behind her to the classroom, like a little puppy who has no idea what he’s supposed to do, so he just follows the nearest person that seems followable.

And the boys continued together,  the four of them squished onto their couch meant for three.

(To discuss the test is not only prohibited, it is also boring; therefore we shall skip that part. Only imagine to yourself and smirk: a small classroom of the aforementioned four boys and myself, studiously being studious. The end.)

Now, back to the entertaining stuff. At the first break the boys all rushed out at once, shutting the door before I’d even managed to leave. (In their defense the teacher and I had hit it off earlier, so they probably thought I’d stay behind and talk to her – or at least they hoped it, I’m guessing.) I’m too curious, though; I wanted to see the school. So I roamed.

In the five minute roam I became quite convinced that I like this school, because they had paintings of Don Quixote and a giant map of Middle Earth, complete with pictures of the movie characters. (Yes, they had a giant Lord of the Rings poster hanging in their school. HOW COOL ARE THEY?!) When the boys came rushing out of wherever they’d been, I was examining an odd little statue sitting in the front lobby. I was curious as to what said statue was, so I asked their little posse as they skittered past me. The posse halted, responded briefly that it was (another) Don Quixote, and then I tagged along beside/behind them for the whole twenty second walk back to the classroom.

We passed the map of Middle Earth, and I couldn’t help but comment on how amazing their school is for having it; they all kind of tittered, and I think we might have been able to break the chains of awkward and perhaps contemplate a day-long sort of friendship, except that we had reached the classroom by then. When these boys enter a classroom, they go into  super respectful private Catholic schoolboy mode – which is probably a compliment to their school, really – but I believe in that moment all hope of their ever speaking to me was firmly dashed.

At the second break they didn’t shut the door on me, and they even kind of lagged out of their close-knit posse, giving me the feeling that they might not faint if I followed them, after all. However, I received no verbal invitation to join them in their lounge or whatever it was, and I wasn’t about to follow them unwelcomed, so I stared at the Don Quixote statue again.

By the third break, I think the one nearly invited me to join them to their special room back the hall, but in the end I was left standing by the bulletin board again. I gave up and went back to class, where I spent the next five minutes having a rather grand conversation with the teacher, who was a complete dear.

So. Last year I took the SAT at a public school in the States, in a classroom crammed full of sleepy high school kids in sweats. This year I sat in a room with four uncomfortable boarding students of various nationalities, complete with polo shirts and combovers.

The humor factor of this year officially wins by a million.
I love my life.