Today was one of those days where I was so completely stunned by my own cluelessness. These days don't happen often, so cherish it, people. Here's the story.
First of all, this class that I am taking at the Facultad (the main university for Spaniards, NOT study abroad students) is kicking my ass in the worst way. Every day I look over at Antonella (the Italian in my class) and find her face to be just as lost as mine. At least we have each other. Basically, I've been scouring the Internet trying to find a book for this class (that is just under FOUR HUNDRED pages) to read and write an essay on by Sunday. That would be 6 days, folks. With that, cue the story.
I took the bus back to my neighborhood from my Facultad class. I got off one stop early to divert from the main street near my house, Gran Vía, to hunt down a different part of the campus--the University of Law. I looked at the online catalogue and this was the only school of the university that had a library with a copy of the book I need. Which, by the way, is called (in English) "Spain. Three millenniums of history." Yes. Riveting.
So I found the school, which was super fancy. Hunted down the library which was at the top of a marble staircase and crept in. I talked to a librarian briefly and located my book. I stood there for about 5 minutes or so looking over the book/my eventual doom. I was being very quiet and library-like. But when I looked up from the car crash that is this novel, I noticed that a lot of people kept giving me looks. Not of anger, but of confusion. And I'm thinking, "Crap. Either I have toilet paper on my shoe, or it's super obvious and obnoxious that I am not a Spaniard and they think I'm lame."
I looked down; no sign of toilet paper, nor any other embarrassing accessory (open fly, etc.). On my way out, a male student, a little older than me, was on his way in. He politely held the door open for me (RARE for a Spaniard) but also gave me a look. I had already put my iPod headphones back in and was jamming to Phoenix (head bobbing included), so I didn't hear him the first time he spoke to me. I panicked, when during a quiet part of the song, I realized he had spoke to me. I ripped out my headphones and said, "Perdón?" He asked me if I attend the school of law. I said definitely not. He laughed. I will translate his very Spanish response as best as I can:
"Oh, it definitely appears not. And it's not just the way you dress..."
Okay, I stopped comprehending after that. What is wrong with the way I dress!? I then looked back in and realized it was definitely a briefcase-required kind of party in that library. I couldn't help but laugh. He asked me where I was from and what I studied. When I said literature, he said, "AAAAH." Like, "Oh, I get why you're wearing oxfords with cuffed jeans and an entirely-too brightly colored scarf." We had a nice conversation before I had to run.
So they didn't think I was a super obvious American! They thought I was dressed like a non-law studying weirdo!
In summation, today is stressful and weird. Very weird.