My mother was an ice cream fanatic. They had just built a Chris Ice Cream near Notre Dame, which is one of those places where they served home made ice cream mixing in all kinds of yummy goodness. I wasn’t a huge ice cream fan, but really liked the amaretto, so I went along whenever she asked if I was interested.

My first time there I noticed one of the guys working behind the counter. He was big. Football player big. And unbelievably cute. And older than me. I was in high school at the time, and I could tell he was in college. I oogled over him, but didn’t say much.

After a few trips there (quite possibly within a week…knowing me and my lust for this guy) he finally asked my name. I told him, and for some reason he just didn’t hear it, get it, or care…and he started calling me Shamu. You know, like the whale. (Did I look like a whale? Was I FAT like a whale? What was up with that?) I think I died a little inside at that point, and cut all flirting to a minimum. Yet – every time we went in there, he would remember me and call me Shamu.

Flash forward a few years to IU. I was at drop/add trying to pick up Latin, Russian, and a math class that wouldn’t kill me dead within the first few weeks. When I had originally registered I had ended up with some advanced probability and numbers theory skull-numbing class that would have obliterated me. So – there I was in a gym full of frantic people trying to obtain a schedule I could manage.

I would say there were thousands of people in there, but I imagine that there were only about 300-400…all of which were trying to change their schedules. Some of the classes would let you put your name on a list and check back later to see if there was a spot. The math department was not interested in that kind of convenience, so I had to park it in front of the table and wait for someone to drop remedial math so I could pick it up.

I stood around waiting, feeling awkward and alone… I had been at this school all of a few days to a week and really didn’t know anybody. As I was pretending to be looking at something interesting in my notebook (blank page of paper if I recall correctly), I heard, shouted at FULL VOLUME across the huge gym, “SHAMU!!!!” I looked up and saw the ice cream boy in the front of the gym jumping up and down screaming whale names at me. It is pretty easy to imagine that I wanted to die. Here I was, trying to not feel like I didn’t fit in, and now everyone was going to freaking know me as Shamu. Awesome way to meet folks, no?

I ended up talking to the guy, writing down my real name for him (swearing to kick him in the balls if he ever called me Shamu again), and finished up the horrendous drop/add task while talking to him for hours.

We went out a few times – I went to a party at his frat house, we went out to dinner, and we studied together once. And then? He asked me to go to his house at Thanksgiving. Mind you it was only still September and the guy was planning the holidays. This totally freaked me out. A lot. I promptly distanced myself from him, ignoring his calls, and faked being too busy to date at all. I could not imagine myself with anyone forever, let alone a few months later… We had not slept together. We had not really even made out, and yet he was planning our lives. I still have no idea what this was about, but am glad I escaped.