Thursday, March 6, 2014

8 Bits In A Byte, 8 Kibbles In A Bit: A Love Story

Once upon a time there was a young college girl, an awkward (but pretty awesome if she does say so herself) and innocent engineering student. Let's call her Miriam. After toiling endlessly at her studies, she made the fateful decision to attend a house party and learn about the wonders of alcohol. After a few Tampico and Tequilas (she was not so much of a classy drinker in these early days), she decided popcorn was in order. Upon opening a pantry, she was shocked to find a boy with curly hair, sitting at the bottom of the pantry eating goldfish in the dark. Instantly the girl liked this boy, after all, Harry Potter came from a cupboard too. He also took a liking to the girl who rescued him from the pantry. Throughout the course of the evening, numbers were exchanged and plans lunch plans were made.  Miriam went home that night feeling rather fuzzy minded with vague memories of meeting lot of Travises (it should be noted there are in fact two in this story, which is very confusing but that can't be helped. The Travi are everywhere. However, the main character in this case will be normal Travis and the other Travis will be Other Travis)

The next morning, Miriam woke up feeling under the weather. With  a solemn vow never to drink Tampico again, she retired to the floor of the bathroom for the remainder of the morning. Young Travis, having had better judgement, had woken up feeling perfectly fine and ready for adventure. Across town he was meeting friends at a steakhouse when he noticed his new friend, Miriam, was mysteriously missing. Suspecting foul play he sent her a text, "Hey! Good morning! :-) :-) Margaritas sound good tonight???"  The narrator would like to say that Miriam sent a dignified reply back along the lines of  "Good morning to you too! I think I'll skip those today, haha."  Alas, Miriam chose to send something more along the lines of "F*CK YOU." Star sign omitted, letter U included. Thus began their love story. 

At first Miriam and Travis were just awkward friends. Awkward because somehow one or the other always said something odd or inappropriate accidentally in each other's presence or found themselves in a strange situation. One meeting at Travis's house illustrates this point best. Upon walking up to the front door there heard a voice calling from the parking lot.
A head wearing a cowboy hat peered out from behind a truck. "Travis! Hey Travis, can you let me in the house, I'm locked out!" came the plea from the friend who shall remain nameless.
"Sure, why are you standing over there?"
This question was soon answered when the questioner moved out from behind the truck, clad only in animal print boxers. "I don't have pants."
"Why not? Are you drunk?" Travis asked curiously.
"No, I just lost a bet. And my pants," was the matter of fact reply. "Want to go get some Taco Bell after I put on some pants?" And this was how the tradition of Taco Bell runs with said unnamed friend began.

Throughout the last couple years of school, Miriam and Travis's relationship evolved. They went from being mere acquaintances to bar hopping buddies, often sharing a beer or two on Wednesday nights because it was much quieter and calmer than Friday nights. Miriam even took on the role of wingman. Or more accurately, attempted and failed miserably. But they had a few great adventures that strengthened their bond. One evening at the Buffalo Rose Bar, a cougar took a liking to Travis. The cougar silently stalked her prey until the moment Miriam left for the bathroom. Miriam couldn't have been gone for more than two minutes. When Miriam returned, Travis's shirt was mostly unbuttoned and he hissed angrily, "Why did you leave me here alone?? She came over and tried to rip my shirt off!" While Miriam found this endlessly entertaining, she still made a better effort to protect Travis. Once very rudely shoving the woman away to stand next to Travis and ward away the offers of Jager bombs, which Travis wanted no part of. 

While Miriam was being Travis's knight in shining armor, he was busy being a villain Once while studying for the engineering exam to end all engineering exams (the fundamentals of engineering test, the FE) Miriam turned to Travis for his expertise in computers. 
"Travis, how many bits are in a byte?"  asked Miriam.
"Well that's easy, there are 8. The more important question is, how many kibbles are in each bit?"  He replied. 
This answer sent Miriam into a mild panic. "I've never heard of kibbles in bits! I must have missed a whole section of information, I'll never pass now! At least tell me how many kibbles are in each bit, so I know a few basics."
"There are 8 kibbles in each bit," said Travis, ever so helpfully. 
Lo and behold, there was no question about kibbles and bits on the FE, if only there was, Miriam would have received extra credit. 

Yet another example of Travis's trickery was Engineering Economics. Now, engineering econ was a class that Miriam had naively decided to take at 7:30 in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  So sometimes this led to a short attention span and the playing of ZombieFarm on a hidden phone. Luckily Miriam had a companion in her misery, Other Travis. Now once when Miriam was studying with Other Travis, Travis came to visit. Other Travis asked Travis, "Have you done your engineering econ homework yet?" Travis seamlessly picked up on the joke and replied, "No, I don't think I'm going to do it." Miriam was appalled and began pestering Travis to do his homework, and for that matter, attend class more often as she never saw him there. "No, I don't think I'm going to go," was always Travis's reply. This went on for weeks. Neither Travis let slip the joke until much later. Travis never went to engineering econ because he was never in the class. 

Now when Miriam and Travis's friendship began to evolve into something more, they faced the introductions to parents stage of the relationship. Miriam took Travis home first, as her family lived close by. Travis noticed her father always seemed to get headaches when he'd visit. He wasn't sure whether to take this personally as Miriam's father is prone to migraines. Travis claims that as time went on, Miriam's father stopped having headaches every time Travis came to visit, a fact that greatly amuses Travis. Travis feels he probably won some points when he cooked Thanksgiving dinner the second time they all met when Miriam went a little nutty and insisted on cleaning the entire kitchen and forcing her parents into this task with her.

Now while Miriam introduced Travis to her family quickly to make sure he was up to the challenge, he seemed to fear his family might scare her off. Countless times Travis would talk to his mother on the phone and say he was just "watching movies with a friend." Countless times he called his father for car advice as he "helped a friend whose car had broken down." Once even letting something like "Babe, go grab me the manual from the glovebox," slip out while still on the phone. Yet Travis was convinced that his family knew nothing of his love life. He justified this with the explanation that they had never specifically asked if he was dating Miriam. But in the end, no one was fooled except Travis who still thinks his mother has no idea that he like Miriam.  

As the story goes, Miriam and Travis have since run away together to the far north. Legend says they will return south one day and there will be great rejoicing throughout the land. Though Miriam and Travis will never again be just awkward bar hopping buddies, he will always be there to remind her of the time she had to go to class with a bar stamp on her face. Likewise, she will always be there to remind him of the time he melted all their spatulas into their morning eggs. True love can be found in the oddest of places in the oddest of people. And they lived happily ever after.

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