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Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2003 - 7:53 p.m.

Ack.

Today I spent all day in front of the computer, a minimum of ten windows open at all times, frantically typing emails and filling out forms and printing out pdf files. Usually I have at least some work to do on paper, but it’s application time, and PhD program applications are now completely automated, requiring hours of electronic commitment. Also, everything costs a lot of money: $95 for an application here, $16 for a transcript there, and it all adds up quickly. But I feel good. I feel alive, and not at all like the slacker I’ve been most of this semester.

And what a dumb semester it’s been! Vacation finally got my head in the right place, giving me perspective on how unusually lame some of my students have been and that I really can get out of this state. And now the pleasant emails from academic people I visited are trickling in, making me feel like quite the intellectual debutante. I blush, I hop up and down in the hallway, I flirt with the academe.

So, after my long day, my officemate M and I were winding down, reading things to each other for advice as our own powers of judgment began to blur, and I opened a beer from the small fridge in our office. It was after 5, and sometimes we have drinks after hours in our little officey refuge. M left for the day, leaving the door open, and I stayed a few minutes longer finishing my beer, closing programs, and planning out tomorrow. Only one small lamp was on, the building was quiet, and I felt good.

And then, from behind me, I heard “Ms. Moore?” I turned, and in my doorway was a student bearing a late paper. I was so flustered I hopped up out of my chair, trying not to breathe my beery breath toward her, misunderstanding her question about the number of sources she’d used, stuttering until I found the right answer, most certainly appearing totally wasted alone in my office on a Tuesday at 5:30 PM. I have no idea whether she saw the beer bottle or sensed my panic or smelled the beer, but I noted as she walked out that her paper was entitled “Drunk Driving”.

Lovely.

I do so hope this shows up on my end-of-semester evaluation. Had she even a small sense of humor I wouldn’t have freaked out, but no, she’s a hollow-eyed blonde who’s had strep throat for three months and has missed countless classes; she feels quite sorry for herself these days. I’m sure her whole sorority has heard the story already. Come to think of it, there was a friend with her, standing in the shadows behind her, so she even has a corroborator.

Well, there’s nothing I can do about it now.

My cat has her ears back, which makes her look like a sort of dinosaur and sort of like a bear. Maybe one beer did get me drunk. If it did, I certainly deserve it.

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