i'm very late.


the gig was a lot easier last night. it was an only hour test, and i could've ducked out early, but i'm a nice guy, so i stuck around and did some stapling. two students showed up late, around 7:10, and only had twenty minutes to complete the exam. "i'm very late" the boy said. i handed him a test and went back to my book. a girl followed shortly after him. "i'm really late!" she said, visibly worried. "what do i do?" i had no idea. "i don't know," i said, "just start the test, and we'll figure it out afterward." she did as i said.

when the tests were over, it took me a half an hour to put them in numeric order. when the two tardy students turned in their exams, i saw that they had written little notes on the cover. the boy's was very direct, while the girl's was more along the lines of, please have mercy on my soul. the boy wrote something like, "thought the test was at 7:30. i have no excuses, so there ya go." the girl wrote something like, "i apologize for being late." it was interesting to see how each person reacted.

i was tempted to help them beat the system. after all, it took me a half hour to finish putting shit in order. technically, they could've had the full hour to finish. the exams are taken on computers, but when a student's computer gets fucked up, they're allowed a blue book. i wanted to say, just take a blue book, and i'll look the other way. the exam was called professional responsibility. the irony was not lost upon me. the two students were usually involved with our events, and i wanted to give them a break. but because they're smart, they stopped on time, and didn't try to beat the system. i don't know, maybe that means they're not smart.

whatever the case, when i returned to the exams office, they were already in there, pleading their case to the coordinator. the coordinator is a cool guy, and he felt for them, too, so he gave them each a blue book and said, "you have thirty minutes. can you get it done in that time?" they said yes. minutes later, the boy returned, saying, "i'm not gonna do it. i already said i was late on the computer." he handed back his blue book. we gave the girl about forty-five minutes.

during their stressful dillema, i could only think about what the hell they were doing and/or thinking, showing up late for the most important hour of the semester. i would think that if i were a student, i'd be waiting around all day for this thing, constantly checking emails, instant messaging classmates, to see if anything had changed. the only valid excuse for being late for something that important would have to be something scandalous, like once-in-a-life-time miracle sex. sorry i'm late, professor. i was having miracle sex. it's once in a lifetime, so it won't happen again. literally.

i hung out in the exams office afterward with the coordinator. he filled me in about the previous director for my office, who apparently was a big, lying beast. "people were afraid of her," he said. "anyone who worked for her ended up quitting and moving really far away." he told me that he wanted to get out of here, that he didn't want to work for the law school forever. that always seems to be the case. for once in my life, i'd just like to meet someone who says, i love this, i love it here. i could do it forever. but that's never the case.

he's got two kids and he goes fishing sometimes. "if you'd ever like to go, i'd be more than happy to take you." i thanked him for the offer. it seems that people are always 'more than happy' to include me in something. why can't they just be happy to do it? he used to play the saxophone, he wants to be a fireman. he took the fireman test, and he's number 58 on the list. stupid lists. "i really thought i was gonna be out of here last year," he said, "but it didn't quite work out that way."

he went into this long thing about needing to make his mark in the world, leaving something behind, and he's convinced himself that being a fireman would fulfill that need. i nodded in agreement, and i wished he'd just be a fireman already. when i finished stapling, i asked if he needed anything else done. "no, that was it," he said. i got out of there and started walking. as i walked through the sidewalks full of muddied leaves, i thought again about how i am wandering aimlessly, or that maybe i was on some set path, even if my instincts told me no. i thought about how people without plans end up on lists, not doing what they want. the curse of constantly needing to be there rather than here.

a small woman walked past me and made an odd sound, almost non-human, like a small whimper or woof. it was enough to bring me back.

3 comments:

Emily said...

so what exactly is this "miracle sex" you speak of?

talking about hard times. said...

i don't know, it's fairly new. word on the street is, it's only something really stressed out law students can achieve during finals.

Emily said...

ha.