Thursday, January 31, 2002

Fire And Ice

Today I write two 15% midterms.

It's 7:39 and I've already hit snooze once. I raise an aching body from a fitful sleep and walk the cold gauntlet to the shower. There is some sickness in my throat that I can't cough up, and I wish I was a shepherd in New Zealand.

I sit at my little desk in my little room as the winter light rolls over the floor. It's snowing outside and I study algorithms. The material is easy, and I am unconcerned, but disappointed with myself for wasting the previous night.

I tie my boots tight around wool socks as soft as down. My jacket is thick - army wool. It closes with three buttons. A small black toque, barely covering my ears, leads me into the snowstorm. It's the worst of the year. Everything shines brilliant white. I retreat into my shoulders and grin.

About one hundred and ninety students, each separated by an empty seat, fill Stirling lecture theater D. It is our regular lecture hour. The midterms have been handed out and the crowd begins to settle. The digital clock on the wall reads 10:29. Our prof says for the fourth time: "Don't start until the buzzer rings." Several seconds of silence ensue.

The fire alarm, old and red, begins to rattle against the wall. My eyes go to the clock - 10:29. Fuck. Everyone begins speaking. Before the prof has a chance to speak, I bellow, in that false gangster accent I occasionally unconsciously bear: "Noh. Noh. Whe Stay."

She looks at me with helplessness. "I guess - everybody hand back your papers." One hundred and ninety papers, with names already attached, begin a slow migration home.

I'm angry. I shout again, at no one in particular: "I'm not fuckin' leaving." I open the test and look at the first page; the questions are easy. She's reached my row and I'm near the isle. I yield my paper.

I go to study economics, mumbling: "I wanna break their knees."

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