As I believe I have mentioned in this space before, I am in BarBri hell. Every morning I get up, shower, get on the el, and trudge into the loop for a three and a half hour closed-circuit video lecture on one of several scintillating law topics that will be covered on the Illinois Bar Exam. After that, I get back on the el, trudge home, and lay on the couch, listlessly watching t.v. and berating myself for not doing the BarBri homework assignments.

Really the only saving grace about BarBri is that I get to regularly see my friends. We sit next to each other, pass notes, and chat during breaks. Makes the whole thing less horrible.

Except I have this one friend? Who I actually like quite a bit? Who is driving me SO BATSHIT CRAZY that I don’t know what to do. He is making me so nuts that I am tempted to sacrifice the anonymity of this blog just to call him out for all the internets to see.

But I won’t. Instead, I will call him Guido. “Guido” is punishment enough.

Guido is incapable of whispering. Seriously. He is also apparently incapable of writing notes. Most of us, when we want to make a snarky comment about something the lecturer is saying, write said snarky comment in the margins of our BarBri review books. Guido? Just says it out loud. Not in a whisper. It causes people sitting around him to shoot him looks of such disdain you would think he would take the hint. People in BarBri are very high strung, and they do not like interruptions. Guido refuses to take the hint. These people really hate Guido and, by association, his friends. I feel very awkward about being associated with snotty people who refuse to conform to social norms. I am a people pleaser. While I don’t always pay perfect attention in BarBri, I try to be courteous enough to not make it harder for other people to pay attention. Do the crossword! Do sudoku! Write notes in the margins! Text message, for all I care! But the talking? Has to stop.

Today, I sat next to Guido. He kept trying to talk to me. I kept shooting him Teacher Death Stare (being a former teacher has its advantages.) At the break, I called him out. “Seriously, Guido,” I said, “I know you think I’m being prissy, but it’s annoying as hell, and it’s rude. Stop talking. Please.”

Guido looked a little wounded. I didn’t care. It was worth it if it made the talking stop.

When we came back from break, however, I realized I had not been specific enough about the need for silence generally, rather than focusing on the talking. Why? Guido had returned from the snack shop with a half-pound sized bag of wasabi peas. In loud crinkly cellophane.

crinklecrinklecrinkle…..crunch! one pea down the hatch.

crinklecrinklecrinkle….crunch! pea two.

For an hour, people. One freaking pea at a time. Loud, open-mouthed crunching. I thought the girl sitting in front of us was going to lose her mind. She actually left class early, after shooting Guido a look of death. Guido drove her out. With PEAS.

Is there a way to nicely tell a friend that you will never, under any circumstances, sit next to them in BarBri ever again?