Friday, January 8, 2010

Eat My Ennui

From an email to Trish:

Tuesday was the first Composition class and the instructor told us then that we'll need a composition journal (specifically) and a pen in a color ink other than black or blue, because we will be correcting each other's papers on occasion (I'm think I'm gonna get beat up after class when that time comes). Not only did she speak that out loud, but it's clearly written on our syllabus.

Today (Thursday) I was early because it's been snowing all night and I didn't want the Comp Professor to give me the hairy eyeball, so I got to school about 20 minutes early. She was not in the room, but popped in at one point before class, talking on her cell, and wrote on the board, "I will be 10 minutes late," and then left again. One young lady walks in with a weary sigh, starts unpacking her stuff and sits down. I'm quietly engaged in The Man in the Iron Mask on my iPhone (Stanza books!) (that's where the sesquipedalian quote came from that I sent you earlier, but you probably knew that). She blurts out, "What time does this class start, anyway?" Mind you, this is the second class we've had, she has a schedule of her classes, AND it's on a PRINTED SHEET ON THE WALL OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM. I answer without looking up "10:25" and she goes back to the sighing. I go back to the reading.

An acquaintance of hers enters the room and sits next to her. They are chatting and now I can't read this smarmily written book so I just start screwing around with the other apps on my phone. They go into great length about the instructor's request for a different color ink pen.

"I don't know why the woman wants different color inks. You'd think blue or black would be easier to read than these other colors."

"My mom's friend is an English teacher and she gets the composition journal but she didn't get the different color ink, either."

"I told my aunt, 'My Composition teacher is mean, and she wants us to call her Professor or Doctor.'"

"I think I might transfer out of this school to UWEC. They don't even start till the 18th and they get, like, a week off in a month and, like, another week off for Spring Break."

I myself don't quite understand why recent high school graduates are here. Globe is TWICE the cost per credit hour that UWEC is. I would think the only people I'd see here, which is pretty much a business school (with commercials...does this mean I'm in a cheesy school and no one will hire me with a degree from "Acme U"?), is people like me who are already in the workforce and need a faster and, therefore, more aggressive pace to get BACK into the workforce. Globe is 12 weeks on, 1 week off, through the entire year, so technically you could get a Bachelor's degree in three years at the most.

I'm a dick. I get that. But you can imagine how hard it was for me to keep my mouth shut. I didn't even want to explain to them the reason for the different color ink. AGAIN. It's like I'm into mental S&M. I'm LOVING just listening to the dumb, but TORTURED by not wanting to correct them, because I TOTALLY do. It's intoxicating, I tell you. But I'm keeping my mouth shut. I have this unreasonable, if not snotty, fear that I'm going to be found out as the "smart kid" in class and then everyone's gonna be making me cut open their GD frog, copy my notes, do their homework and then hang me by my drawers from a coat hook. All for my mad skillz, yo. Screw that. I'm here to get in, get an edumacation, and get out. With the exception of one guy in two of my classes, who, incidentally, sounds like Larry the Cable Guy (but is smarter and funnier than he lets on), I have NO faith in finding any other students in there I find intellectually stimulating or amusing enough to befriend. The Introduction to Software Development class though, shows promise. That's like hanging out in a garage with a bunch of dudes...if it was a computer room filled with stereotype geeks...good time. One of the conversations was between the instructor and a couple of students about one student's dog and peanut butter.

* * *

So the Composition Professor eventually arrives. She is apologizing profusely for the delay because, "I have cancer. I'm currently receiving chemo and radiation treatments and I was late because I needed to schedule surgery for next week." I look over at those two girls for the first time and now they're looking at me like they got caught. Sure I told you she sounded tough, but she's also looking for some measure of quality out of her students and it seems like I'm the only one in there who gets that. So far, she's the only instructor like that. Unfortunately, she also, like most of the instructors in there, has to cater to the weakest link. I actually kinda like her. She's an actual instructor. She has integrity, standards, expectations. I can respect that.

In my poor opinion, post-secondary education should only be something that people attend when they WANT to be there, not HAVE to. I think it makes a huge difference. Granted, lots of people want to be in college right after they graduate high school, but I figured it was because they wanted to escape their parents and behave badly. I realize that could be a generalization on my part...

Anyway, the Professor passes around the attendance sheet for us to sign. I'm the second-to-last person to sign the sheet and it has about 6 or 7 signatures in orange, green, pink... The Prof gets her sheet back and says, sincerely surprised, "Oh! Look at all the different colors! That's pretty!"

This college thing is gonna be SO fun mentally. Just not Algebra. :)


  1. Looks like not much has changed since I was the "old lady" of the class. Trust me, even if they CAN figure out you're the smartest, they aren't going to care. And if you're thinking of "friending," don't count out the instructors just yet. And just for me, can ya find out once and for all if I'm correct in putting the quotes after the comma ("friending,")?

  2. @ Denise: Hang with the professors--they are CLOSER to your intellectual level. However, even most of them will fall short. Yes, you ARE that smart!

    @ Momma: I know the answer. Do you really want to know? (I'm afraid people may notice my geekiness and hang me from the pole by my underpants, too!)

  3. Wonderfully written!! I totally agree with you about wanting to go to school v having to go to school. Someday I will show you my undergrad and postgraduate transcripts. HUGE difference!! It could also have been I was involved with a good editor. You are awesome.

  4. @Trish- do tell! we're too far away to hang you from your underpants. Besides- do we really do that our age?

    This class is way more interesting than the Algebra class. And I am now more afraid that if our friendship grows you'll be rolling your eyes at me, writing a post about your superior brain vs. my under developed, under used, pea brain.

  5. Mmm...peanut butter.

  6. Cheryl, I'm still an idiot, please don't forget that. Remember I put styling mousse in my hair twice the other day? I once left one of my precious Lou Malnati's pizzas out on the counter because I needed to measure its diameter and then forgot about it (for four hours) until Anya came home and asked, "We're having Lou's for dinner?" And I still, STILL, ask Tommy what time it is though the GIANT clock is on the wall behind my head.

    Besides you are SO creative in so many ways...all I got is big words. And iffy grammar.

    Becky's Editor...what's not to love about peanut butter? Am I right?

  7. @Cheryl: Okay, here are quotation mark rules. (Remember, you ASKED for these! No hanging me by my underpants.)

    Commas and periods: These will ALWAYS go to the LEFT of the quotation mark.

    EXAMPLE: Denise said, "Hey, Bob. Look how the lobsters scream when you drop them in the boiling water. Heh, heh, heh."

    Semi-colons and colons: These will ALWAYS go to the RIGHT of the quotation mark.

    EXAMPLE: Bob said, "You always hurt me when we wrestle"; Denise said, "Oh, you like it."

    Question marks and exclamation points: These MAY go to the left or the right of the quotation mark. It depends how they are used. If the question or exclamation IS the quote, then the question mark/exclamation point goes INSIDE the quote. If the entire phrase is a question/exclamation, not what is within the quotes, then the question mark/exclamation point goes OUTSIDE the quote.

    Bob shouted, "Denise, let go of my leg!"
    Save me from my "girlfriend"!

    I know, I know...more than you EVER wanted to know about quotation mark punctuation. I? Truly am a geek.



  8.'s my question: In the sentence, "Hey, Bob. Look how the lobsters....", shouldn't it be, "Hey, Bob? Look how the...."? I'm thinking "Hey, Bob(.or?) should be a "?" since you are really asking Bob for his attention....what do you all think?