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Monday, Dec. 08, 2003 - 4:04 p.m.

The hallway outside my office is filled with cigar smoke. To blame is a certain professor; the building's been smoke-free for years, but he continues to smoke pipes and cigars in his office. I love academia.

Here's what being a teacher means, sometimes: I went to the grocery store this weekend for a can of Reddi Whip for my banana cream pie, and I ended up in the checkout line of one of my former students. This particular woman failed my class for plagiarizing not once but twice, the second time after a very stern meeting and an F on an assignment. We recognized each other and guardedly said hello. And standing there remembering our previous association, I felt like the failure. Not her. Somehow I'd neglected to get through to her, to make her understand academic honesty, and here she was working the late shift at the Piggly Wiggly.

I've been alternating between evil self-criticism and total jubilation all week. Emailing back and forth with people in potential PhD programs, I scrutinize their every message for secret coding: this one is just a tiny bit more brusque than the previous one; does that mean he hates me now, or is he really just busy, as he claims? Did the Admissions Committee sleep well last night? It's like dating. It's like I'm juggling three potential blind dates through some internet service. My standards are ridiculously high, but I also really, really need a date.

I would now like to make a sincere plea for Isaac to come back. I fully understand that sometimes the online journal does not fit well with the other events of your life, especially when those events are shitty. However, I miss reading your journal. Come back.

I think I'll mosey homeward now. I've neglected the cat all weekend; I will make up for it by neglecting the boyfriend for a while. And at some point I still have to grade those portfolios.

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