what's alternate?

"i knew you'd be in here," i said. "how'd you know?" "i could just tell," i said, "i had a feeling." he was watching the cavaliers dominate the hawks, and i joined him. i had with me my water bottle and a small package of eel sushi from qfc. "where'd you get that?" he asked. "qfc." "you ever had sushi from the sidebar?" "no," i said, "but i think i've had it from the cafeteria before." "how was that?" he asked. "it was alright." "it's the same thing," he said, "they just bring it from over there to the sidebar." i agreed.

he called someone while i ate my sushi. the cavaliers were winning by a lot. "ooh!" he said. "oh shit!" i said. still on the phone, he explained our outburst. "oh, nothing. lebron just took it to the hole for a reverse jam." they replayed the move three different times, from three different angles. with my last piece of unagi, i tried to soak up the last of the soy sauce and wasabi. i waved to natasha in the hall. "are you working tonight?" she asked. "yeah, i am," i said. "me too," she said. later, whitney was in the hall. "what are you still doing here?" she asked. "proctoring," i said. "oh, that's what i thought," she said. "have fun!"

it was about 5:45 p.m., and i was all finished eating. he rose to leave. "you headed down?" i asked. "yeah." "should i go down now, too?" "you can if you want," he said, "just make sure you're there at like, 5:55 or so." "all exams don't start until 6:30, right?" "yeah, but students sometimes freak out if a proctor isn't in the room. they'll be knocking on the exam room door, like, 'it's 6:15 and we don't have a proctor!' or 'it's 5:30 and there isn't a proctor in the room!'" i laughed at this. "once, though, it was 6:25 and a student came in and said there wasn't a proctor. apparently, the person got sick, and she didn't tell anyone. we had to scramble around last minute." "that sucks," i said. "yeah," he said, "it did."

book and water bottle in hand, i went down to the exam room. i saw my name and class written in green. in parenthesis, it said: alternate. "alternate?" i said aloud, to no one in particular. "what's alternate?" "you didn't tell him what 'alternate' is?" a girl i had never seen before looked at him, and said, "that's not my job." he turned back to me. "'alternate' is just when students who couldn't make the original test date come in to take it on an alternate date." "so, i don't know how many students to expect?" he shook his head. "alright," i said.

i didn't read any of the instructions. technically, i'm supposed to, but i figured they all already knew the drill. i waited until 6:25 to pass out exams and then shot out some random instructions. "please turn off all electronic gadgets. please remember to write your four-digit code on all papers. the test is two and a half hours long. we'll start at 6:30 and end at 9:00." the i.t. lady came in and said, "wow. big group tonight." by then, there were seven students in the classroom. "yeah," i said. i was reading richard russo's straight man. she looked up at the projector screen. "open book. that's good," she said. "yeah," i said. "are you gonna be next door?" i asked. "i'll be next door," she said.

at 6:30 i made the announcement to begin. i was able to read quite a bit of straight man. i stopped at page 223 and made a mental note to include the following passage in my blog:

it's the dilemma of the lower middle class when it sends its children off to be educated, often at great expense. their naive hope (they don't see it as unreasonable) is that the kids they send off will return more affluent but otherwise unchanged. certainly not contemptuous.

1 comment:

beastmomma said...

That quote totally reflects so many of our conversations!