During one of my college classes, we sat in an auditorium where the rows of seating ascended the further you were from the professor. Being the terrible student I was, I would usually be sitting in the back with my group of friends since nothing really mattered in that class anyway.
On this occasion, one of my friends, Stephanie, decided to sit in on the lecture. She had a spare period and since she knew most of my friends (and the fact that we would goof off in class), she figured it would be a good way to kill time.
It was a warm autumn day, and surprisingly, it wasn’t raining, windy, or anything, just unseasonable warmth. Stephanie was wearing black boots with tight black jeans (tucked into her boots) and a fancy autumn jacket.
My friends and I occupied the last two rows on the far left side of the auditorium. I sat in the back row and since Stephanie knew me the best, she sat next to me. The rest of the group sat around us, or directly in front of us. And, as per usual, as the lecture wore on, we started finding ways to kill time. Our go-to was usually to play snake on our cell phones (remember that?) except with the layout of the auditorium, we weren’t able to connect via infrared for a multiplayer game.
It was at this point that Stephanie grew tired of our antics and I saw a golden opportunity.
“What else do you guys do?” Stephanie asked me.
“Not much,” I replied, “we usually just tell jokes, talk, text, you know, the usual stuff.”
“Do you ever learn anything?”
“I’m sure some of the stuff will seap into my brain somehow,” I joked.
It was at this point that Stephanie let out a small laugh, but at the same time, her leg must have also shifted as her booted foot brushed the shoulder of our friend sitting in front of her.
“Watch it!” he said, annoyed by her antics.
“Sorry,” Stephanie replied sheepishly.
This is where my idea started to go into action. It was almost as if my mind started to construct a plan to get Stephanie’s boot off instead of paying attention to anything that was actually being taught in class.
“I’m getting bored,” Stephanie said.
“What do you want to do?”
“I don’t know,” Stephanie replied, “I should have just gone to the library.”
I had to act quickly because the window of my plan was short. A fair amount of time had already passed since Stephanie’s foot brushed my friend’s shoulder.
“How about an experiment?” I asked her.
“What do you mean?”
“You remember how our friend reacted when you brushed him with your foot?”
“What if you just rested your foot on his shoulder?”
“What would that accomplish?” Stephanie asked, puzzled by my question.
“What do you think will happen?”
“He’ll probably yell at me again.”
“I bet you he’ll try to take your boot off.”
“Then my stinky foot will be in his face,” Stephanie laughed.
“Only one way to find out,” I challenged.
To her credit, Stephanie was game for my stupid wager, or I should properly address as my social experiment.
Stephanie gingerly reached out with her left foot and gently rested it on my friend’s shoulder. My friend reacted quickly, but brushed her foot away. Stephanie laughed as she pulled her foot back.
“You lose,” Stephanie whispered.
“No,” I said, “not yet. You have to leave your foot there. See what happens.”
“Fine,” Stephanie smiled.
Stephanie proceeded to do the same thing. As her booted foot landed on my friend’s shoulder, he immediately grasped her ankle.
“Now what?” Stephanie said as she pointed to her left foot which now had my friend’s hands wrapped around by the ankle.
“What if he really takes my shoe off?”
“Well then hopefully your stinky foot would come in handy,” I joked.
I could tell that Stephanie was getting uncomfortable.
My friend pulled at Stephanie’s foot a few times, but the boot didn’t budge. However, a few other friends who were sitting in front of us had seen the predicament and started to join in. They worked on the zipper and slowly began to unzip her boot.
“They’re actually doing it!” Stephanie exclaimed.
My plan was working.
Soon, Stephanie’s boot was completely unzipped and she was at their mercy. They gave her boot a quick tug and pried her left boot off her foot revealing her white ankle sock.
“Now what?” Stephanie asked as her socked foot was now exposed.
“I didn’t think that far,” I replied.
“What am I supposed to do with one shoe on?”
“Get your shoe back?” I asked, playing dumb.
Stephanie didn’t. She played it cool. When class was over, everyone left the auditorium, but my friends kept Stephanie’s boot and left the classroom with it. Stephanie reluctantly had to leave the auditorium and follow them if she was ever going to get it back.
They did eventually give her boot back after the walked across the courtyard. To which Stephanie showed me the condition of her now dirty sock and complained to me that I now owed her a new pair.
“That was such a dumb idea,” Stephanie said as she finally replaced her boot on her socked foot.
“Then why did you do it?”
“I was bored I guess,” Stephanie replied.
“At least we know the experiment was a success,” I replied, “so you did right by the ways of science.”