Ennis has language lab right before lunch on Tuesday. Usually he gets a perfectly good booth, off to the left where Gail usually sits. Poor Gail has ten hours of language lab a week; she's trying to re-learn Spanish having dropped it in favor of Mandarin and the school has also started her on, of all things, Navajo.
Today there's a torporous snake draped over six of those booths, dripping something awful onto the chairs and desks beneath; it looks like it's digesting and also like it would be hard to kill, so nobody's cleaned it up yet, but that's six usually good booths - well, maybe not so good, apparently - out of commission, and nobody wants to be next to them either. Gail and Ennis wind up in different labs and after ten minutes of booth-hunting Ennis is debating the ethics of tapping someone on the shoulder and firmly offering to trade them for their spot, but he finds something he's willing to try eventually, and checks the perimeter and sits down to study German.
Come lunchtime, he doesn't know any of the people around - not all of them are even freshmen, it's mixed - and he winds up falling in with a clump of sophomore indies who mostly look like they're from India except for one black girl but are at least speaking English with each other. They're strangers, but better than nothing - right?