Was I Ever That Clueless?

So, because the school paid for so much of my recent trip to Cuba, they’re forcing me to do slave labor for them.

Basically, everyone with half a brain realizes that freshman orientation is terrible and terrifying, and no one volunteers for it. They have to pay people to get them to come work.

Or lure them in with innocent-sounding contracts that require a certain number of hours of work in exchange for the trip of a lifetime.

If I had known this was what I had signed up for, I would never have signed my name so carelessly at the bottom of the page.

And the smiley face in the “o” would not have happened.

Really, it’s not so bad. I only have to deal with the tiny creatures six times this summer, and it’s only two-three hours each time. I also only have to deal with the nursing students.

My job is to stand in front of them, answer all their random questions, give them sage words of advise for their nursing futures, and silently mock them because most of them will never make it into upper division.

A few of them escape the mocking because they’re smart and nice.

And then there was the child who called me “Ma’am” tonight.

He almost died.

Painfully.

The only thing that stopped me was the thought of the mess that would make. And they had just waxed the floors…

But, seriously. (See, I’m implying that the above comments weren’t serious so you won’t think I’m a psychopath.) (I’m not a psychopath.) (I think.) These children ask some of the most random questions. And I have to take them all seriously!

My first day of doing this, I made the mistake of assuming one of them was joking, but when I laughed, they just kept staring at me, awaiting an answer.

I’ve since learned to contain my laughter, but I will now include a sampling of questions just so you understand:

“Sooooo, do I have to, like, sign up for lunch? Like, is that a class? Or do you just, like, show up and say, ‘I’m here!'”

“I live two hours away. Would you recommend commuting?”

“Were they serious when they said we couldn’t bring our dogs to school?”

“Have you ever gone to jail?”

“Are showers mandatory?”

“What are my chances of getting married in college?”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

“Who cuts your hair? Are they here in Cookeville?”

“Can you tell me how to get here from my apartment?”
“Where’s your apartment?”
“Well, if you turn down that road over there, turn left, go down that other road with the curve in it, turn right at the stop light (or is it a stop sign?), drive for, like, forever, turn right again, and go to those white apartments, you’re there!”
“And…that’s how you get here.”
“No, like, how would you get here?”
“I walk.”
“Oh, okay. Thanks.”

“Is my mom allowed to come here every day and bring me breakfast?”

“Are we allowed to leave? Ever?”

“Can you help me with my schedule? I can’t find a class to fit around nap time.”

“Do I have to take the classes in this list?”
“Yeah, those are your prerequisites.”
“Well, I mean, what if I just take these classes instead?”
“Do you want to earn your degree?”
“Well, no. Not really. I’d just like to stay in school until I can get married.”
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“No, I need to find one of those. Do you have any friends?”

“My dad told me, if I stayed in nursing, because I’m a guy, I had a higher chance of getting laid. Would you know anything about that?”

What are the little minions thinking? I don’t know what’s wrong with them. I don’t take mental health until next semester.

How to Lose a Man in 30 Seconds

So, my friends (Mary, Kayla, and Kathryn) and I do crazy things when we’re tired and together. Tonight, we started randomly coming up with ways to be super creeps to men. These are a few of our many ways to Lose a Man in 30 Seconds:

  1. Say, “So, that girlfriend in your profile picture from three years ago… Where is she now? Is she prettier than me? … You paused! You still have feelings for her, don’t you? I CAN SEE IT ALL OVER YOUR FACE!”
  2. Demand that he walks you to class. “HOLD ME! WALK ME! LOVE ME! LOVE ME! LOVE ME!!!!”
  3. Say, “So, I’m changing my major because we don’t have enough classes together. We need to have all of our classes together. We need to spend all of our time together.”
  4. When you’re in the supermarket shout, “WOLF WHISTLE! WOLF WHISTLE!” And, when he asks what you’re doing say, “I can’t whistle, sexy.”
  5. Tattoo his name on your forehead.
  6. Declare your undying love after three hours.
  7. After he asks you out, run around yelling, “ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!”
  8. On the first date, name all of your future children
  9. On your first date, hand him a piece of paper and say, “This is my application to be your wife.”
  10. If you get to date number 2, sit him down and start planning your wedding, how many children you’re going to have, and where you’re going to retire.
  11. On the third date (if he’s crazy enough to go for it), demand to know where your ring is.
  12. Demand he address you as “Buttercups” and only answer to that.
  13. Demand flowers on Thursdays because “it’s the first time you laid eyes on him through his window”.
  14. Demand chocolates every other Tuesday because that’s the day you stalk him on Facebook.
  15. Right before he leans in for the kiss, say, “Oh snap! I forgot my pills!”
  16. Walk up to him and say, “Don’t fall in love with me. I’m crazy.”
  17. Stare deep into his eyes and say, “I can feel your positive energy, and we’re meant to be together because it balances out my negative energy.”
  18. Tell him that your life goal is to beat the Duggars in the number of children you have.
  19. Stare deep into his eyes and, when he asks what’s wrong, whisper, “I can see your soul.”
  20. As soon as he asks you out, say, “Can we make it Facebook official? Cause the only reason I’m dating you is so I don’t  look as lonely on Facebook.”
  21. When he says, “Happy One Year Anniversary!” Say, “Well, actually, it’s five years for me.”

Written by me, Mary, Kayla, and Kathryn :)

Rain and an Almost-Forgotten Love

But for one incident about a year and a half after his marriage to Odile, I would have thought that the prince had lost his soul. I was sitting on one of our former tutorial benches, under an overhanging eave in a kitchen courtyard. It was raining heavily, as it must in spring to melt the snow so that summer can blaze across the steppes in green and blue. Watching the rain collide at an angle with a brick wall and then run down it in a tight embrace, I was trying to determine why at a certain volume and force the water bounced off, and why, if neither was sufficient, it didn’t. I came to the conclusion that the gross mechanics were directly attributable to the molecular structure of the water, and that the thresholds of adhesion were determined by group particle affinity, I believe I was slightly ahead of my time.

Anyway, I was intently absorbed, speaking to myself in calculations. When next I looked up, the prince was beside me. “I didn’t see you,” I said.

“I know,” he replied. “You’ve been muttering numbers in a kind of song.”

“Forgive me,” I said dryly.

“Forgiven,” he said twice as dryly, for he, after all, was a prince. This hurt me, for in truth I did love him like a son.

“What were you doing?” he asked.

“Calculating the force of impact between a given amount of water and a porous surface, such as brick, necessary for the deflection of the water rather than its adhesion.”

“In what units?”

“In cubic armands per centipede.”

“How can you do that without instruments?”

“How can you do it with instruments? Estimates – it’s all estimates. Just as you fell in love with a voice or a face: all is most powerful precisely in the absence of precision. And since measurement, no matter how exact, is nothing more than an analogy of unfixable quantities, I am, my prince, unafraid to estimate.”

“You are unafraid of anything, Tutor, are you not?”

“Not so.”

“I thought you were fearless. Come, now. You are fearless. I believe that you would look into my eyes and tell me that I am corrupt. You would even go against Von Rothbart, wouldn’t you?”

“Have you become Von Rothbart’s spy?” I asked, amazed at his transformation. “But, yes, certainly I would. That is not what I fear. I am of an age, and I have had a life, whereby I no longer fear what may become of me. But almost as if in compensation, reciprocally, I fear much more and suffer greatly on behalf of others.”

“The world in general?” he asked, as if I had been making a political argument.

“You know that I am not like that. Love for all is love for none.”

“Who, then?”

“Those who are pure,” I replied, and it went right to him, for he knew who I meant. “Those who suffer. Those who wait.”

The silence that followed was interrupted as one of the orchestras began to tune in a nearby hall. I have always regarded a first-class orchestra tuning its instruments as a toy shop for the ear. We listened to trumpets, violins, drums, and woodwinds playing their scales, while all the time watching the rain run down the saturated bricks. Then, almost tentatively, the orchestra began to play short but powerful sections from the most beautiful symphonies.

The wind and rain picked up until the water crossed the threshold of surface tension and molecular adhesion and began to dash off the wall. I turned to the prince, as in the old days, to remark upon this, and when I did I saw that he was looking straight ahead, and that tears were running down his face.

A Kingdom Far and Clear, “Swan Lake” p. 66-8 Mark Helprin