So I have this class at 9:30 and I have to be there on time and with an essay in hand about why I need to take the class. Why? Because the professor wants to “pare down” the enrollment — he says he listed the class as a twenty-five student maximum, but the university allowed forty-five students to register anyway.
So I drag my ass out of bed early in order to make it to campus in time to email the essay to myself and print it out using library computers, for which I have to pay. I walk fast to be sure to give myself ample time. When I get to the library and walk in, I notice that people are looking at me funny and I smell. Instinctively, I look down at my boots.
Yes, kids, either some idiot lets their dog out loose all the time in the city or some idiot takes their dog for shit walks but without cleaning up the shit. Either way, it’s now on my boot. I rush back outside and start scraping at it with random sticks and depositing little mini-shits all over the pavement and sidewalk. Then I do the “boot cleaning dance” all over the library’s front lawn. It’s all eating precious time.
Finally, I have a reasonably clean boot and I’m gambling that the stench has been minimized. I go inside and email the paper from my laptop to my university account, in Acrobat (PDF) format — an international de-facto standard. The university itself uses the format for innumerable types of documents, and as students we are more or less expected to have it on hand.
When I try to open the file on the print-capable library PC from within my university email account, I find that the university doesn’t support Acrobat format files on the print stations. Whaaaaaat? So I have to go back to my PC, open up the file again, re-save it in a less portable format, and repeat the process. Whatever. Five minutes later, I finally have the job submitted. Now I just have to insert my little red payment card in order to get the print.
So I insert my card and try to print the job… but the printer is out of paper. Shit, folks, it’s 9.00 AM on a busy weekday in the research library of one of the “top twenty research universities in the world,” and the printer is out of paper. No problem. I open up a nearby printer, take half the ream of paper out of its tray, and start loading it into the printer I’m trying to use.
“Hey!” comes a voice, yelling all the way across the main floor of the research library. “Leave that alone! You shouldn’t be in there. I’m gonna load the paper up if y’all can just wait a moment. You haveta be trained on this stuff before y’all go opening it up like that.” An obviously incredibly educated African-American woman in what can only be described as an I wish I was a professional suit that doesn’t actually fit and looks like a sitcom joke is chastising me for loading a ream of paper into a fucking laser printer. “Leave it be for a minute and I’ll get some paper in it.” By this time, she has made her way across the room, removed the paper I’d just inserted, and put it back in the other printer. I look at her for a moment and take a seat next to my notebook PC.
It takes her five minutes to read her little instruction card, open a new damn ream of paper, and stick half of it into the printer. Jesus.
Finally, at length, at great length, she’s double-checked her little card again and she shuts the tray. My print job comes out. I take it, bow at her, and go back to where my PC is sitting. It’s nearly time to walk to class, anyway — the class that I had to write the admission essay for — the one with forty-five students that was supposed to be limited to twenty-five, that the professor is going to “pare down” — starts at 9.30.
I think about checking my email before I pack my PC back up and head for class. At first, I decide not to do it — even though it will only take a second, it might make me late — but then for some reason, almost on a whim, I decide to check it anyway, since I haven’t checked it since about midnight or 1.00 AM last night. Good thing I did, because the professor of the class I’m going to attend in just a minute or two has sent me an email:
“We are meeting this week in Wilder House at 1:10…