Today I had short story class.
Short story class happens to be my favorite. My professor has a very old-school, scholarly sounding name and pretty awesome facial hair and when you say something profound or he’s trying to make a point his eyebrows go up and down.
Lately we’ve been doing presentations on short stories that have been outlined in our syllabus. Today, someone presented on the story River of Names. It is horrific. I could barely get through it. They don’t even tell you this stuff on Law and Order: SVU.
The professor is all about the sharing of knowledge, so he encourages us big time to speak up in class. Since my class (save a few rather interesting/intelligent individuals) tend to just sit there like a bunch of hungover members of Phi Alpha Idiot, it’s normally up to the professor, aforementioned interesting individuals, and me to make the class at all worthwhile.
This morning, however, I struggled. I struggled all through the first girl’s presentation, because she was saying good things, and I couldn’t think of anything to say. I always get nervous in the class because there’s a lot of pressure on me to actually talk (which isn’t exactly my forte in large groups), but because I like the professor and cannot bare extended uncomfortable silences, I do my part. Not today, however.
And then it was time for River of Names Guy to present, and still, nada from Erika. It was like the chord that ran from my brain to my mouth had been severed, and the only thoughts I could successfully formulate were not “indubitably, this narrator certainly is reliable and were it not for her thoughtful ramblings this story would fall short of any modern concerns” but rather “I want Chick-fil-A. I deserve it. When was the last time I had their fries? I don’t even know.”
But River of Names Guy stopped talking for a few seconds and before I knew it I was talking. A lot. About intimacy. And the sexual relationship of the narrator and how her brain was ruined forever by her awful family and this is the holy grail of the modernism we’ve been so diligently tracking all semester and blah blah blah blah.
Crickets. No one said a word. A single, tiny word. I just sat there, completely defeated by their deafening stares. The professor said something like “Ok, River of Names Guy, that was a lovely presentation” and people clapped for him, but it was really one of those moments that makes you realize that you should just never be able to leave your house, ever.
I was sitting in the hallway several minutes after class, replaying the scene over and over in my mind. My impassioned speech about how you can’t escape your upbringing, how it can make you or break you or do neither really, how everything we’d been learning had started to finally make sense. And they said nothing. Nothing. The professor made a point to walk over to me and tell me how he’d really appreciated my comment. You know, doing damage control for the little scene (is that what it was?) I’d caused. He said he’d agreed wholeheartedly but he wished everyone had chimed in a little bit more.
Me too. Me. freaking. too.
- Coined the term “Postponement Atonement” for this torturous week that I fully understand I have brought upon myself.
- Woke up 35 minutes late, which was actually glorious.
- Went to class, where I doodled.
- Wrote a mini paper and read 100 pages of a book in TWO hours. TWO.
- For the second time this semester, witnessed a man fall off his bike and then turn around and blame the bike. No one believes you dude.
- Went to class, where I was still attempting to complete said 100 pages. Professor snidely asks me if I’m almost done while he’s still passing out papers. (For the record, Buckaroo, it’s the week before finals and you assigned us 100 pages of reading that will not be on our final. It’s a wonder I’m even sitting in your class, let alone at all interested in finishing all your work.)
- Received a mini paper back from Professor Buckaroo (alias). The assignment was to write on the species of humanoids you would create if you had previously obliterated the entire population. I wrote about a group I felt I would best get along with/admire. He gave me all the points allowed but was careful to include the fact that he thought my peeps “sounded boring”. Your mom sounds boring.
- Listened to a ton of Christmas music.