Twilight Zone

This morning I met with the professor whom I’m assisting with National History Day. I got there early, because I live unbelievably far away and one usually needs to factor in everything from freak thunderstorms to alien invasions because do you have any idea how many things can make you late between Grafton and the East Side? A LOT THAT’S HOW MANY.

I did have to pick up my honors certificate from some professor’s mailbox, I thought, that would kill a few minutes.

Okay. Well, that had the potential to be awkward. I really hate hanging around the third floor of Holton. It’s tiny and everyone leaves their doors open. My thesis advisor (Given name: Neal. This will be important later on.) is always in his office. Right next to the mailboxes. With his door open. Just waiting to notice me and yeah, I didn’t feel like I could come up with a better reason than, “Um…that Doctor Who special, The End of Time? Was like two hours long.” for why I hadn’t sent him a draft of my thesis yet.

See? Awkward. Still, I really wanted that certificate. So I trekked up the stairs. On the second floor, another woman joined me. A woman I’ve spent two years avoiding the gaze of. She was my professor for the ridiculously entitled Women and Gender in Western Europe Post-1750 class a few years ago. I had a complicated relationship with her. She was acrimonious and liberal and annoying but she gave me an A. So…yeah. I just kept my head down and pretended to be texting.

(This, incidentally, is how I handle most awkward hallway situations. So if you see me in the hallway and I’m “texting”? Feel free to call me on it.)

Whew. She left. Okay. I clawed through the guy’s mailbox and got my certificate (Really? $40 for a single sheet of paper? Ooh, but I get to save a whole 15% on the honors cord for graduation- way to be frugal there, Phi Alpha Theta.), and scurried past my advisor’s office without looking up from the carpeting.

Awesome. Crisis averted. I made my way down to the hallway where my boss’s office is. She wasn’t in. Okay. I’ll just stand out here for a few minutes. This time actually texting. And oh! Great. Scary Religious Studies Advisor is in her office. RIGHT NEXT TO ME. Shitshitshitshit.

Okay. Remember that I was a Religious Studies major before I switched to Jewish Studies. I’m not saying that I’m important enough for her to remember me. But I kind of dropped her class, the major she chairs, and refused to take her husband’s intensive summer Latin program (I’m sorry- it was $1,900 for two weeks.) even though she told me I’d probably never get into graduate school otherwise. And also? SHE’S THE SCARIEST WOMAN ON CAMPUS. Or so I’ve heard. Like I said, I ran screaming from anything related to her.

Okay. More staring down. Please don’t turn around, please don’t turn around, please don’t turn around. She seems to be pretty engrossed in her computer. Great. I’ll just stare at the wall. Oh, look. My boss shares an office with four other people. It must be nice to be independently wealthy and not care that you’re treated like crap by this fine academic institution. And wow, one of them is my Women and Gender professor. Gosh, that’s a coincidence…

AHHHH! Women and Gender professor! YOU’RE RIGHT HERE. AGAIN. NEXT TO ME. TALKING TO ME. I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO RESPOND.

Women and Gender Professor: Are you waiting for Ellen?

Kathleen: Y…yes.

Women and Gender Professor: You’re going to have to wait a little longer. We’re still cleaning out here.

Kathleen: Oh! Oh, not a problem at all. Nope. I’m fine. I’ve got lots of texting to do! Ha! Have a nice day! You’re obviously just as pleasant as you were a few years ago.

So there’s more hall waiting. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a school hallway from c. 1900, but they’re tiny. And when you’re trying to avoid people on two of the three walls- that’s fun.

Wait. It gets better. All of a sudden, Hot Latin Guy shows up.

Let me explain Hot Latin Guy. But “Latin” I don’t mean “-o”. I mean “Adoramus te Christe.” He sat in front of me in art history last semester, and I spent most of the class not paying any attention to what the hell kind of significance that damn Minoan octopus jar had but staring at the back of his head and naming our babies.

What? He was a classics major, a year older than me, and taking fourth-semester Latin. You find me a guy who can speak Latin and is neither a seminarian nor the father of a kid in my sister’s class (like my Latin professor- I’d like to be very clear that I never found him hot)? I’ll give you my firstborn. With that guy.

Sadly, the class ended and we had never actually spoken because well, we probably had nothing in common except student debt. But whatever. He still smiles at me if I pass him in the hallway.

So. He’s there. For some reason. I don’t know why. But this hallway in Holton? Is getting downright freaky. I’m quickly running out of texts on my monthly plan and dear God, it’s like 11:45 where is this woman?

Oh, thank goodness! There she is. Okay. We’re exchanging small talk about Christmas, and she’s inviting me into the office…oooh, I don’t want to go in there with Women and Gender lady. But let’s face it, she scares me less than Scary Religious Studies Woman. Okay, just go in and smile.

Now my boss is talking to Women and Gender Lady.

Ellen: Where are you going?

Women and Gender Lady: Oh, Neal and Margo have been trying to get rid of me forever. I finally got a letter telling me to vacate the office permanently. *goes off on a long, way-too-much-information ramble about being fired*

Kathleen: OH MY GOD I AM NOT LISTENING TO THIS CONVERSATION IN WHICH MY THESIS ADVISOR FIRED YOU IN A HORRIBLE WAY. AND YOU’RE ABOUT SIX SECONDS AWAY FROM FIGURING OUT WHO I AM. *ducks head, stares out window, wishes desperately that she had someone to text*

Ellen: This is Kathleen, by the way.

Kathleen: Shitshitshitshitshit. Okay. Breathe. You had long, curly hair and weighed about fifty pounds more the last time she saw you. She’ll never recog…

Women and Gender Lady: You look familiar.

Kathleen: Of course I’m familiar, you just poured out your humiliating job loss story in front of your former student who is REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THIS. Um, yeah, actually, you were my Women and Gender professor a few semesters ago.

Women and Gender Lady: Oh, right. I taught that during my divorce. I lost it a few times.

Kathleen: I know. You told such horrible stories that I made my mom change her will. Now whatever loser (Hot Latin Guy?) I marry won’t be able to get his grubby cheating hands on my inheritance. Um…yeah…I didn’t…I really enjoyed the class. *cough* My apologies, by the way.

Women and Gender Lady: *huff*

ANYWAY. Finally she and her boyfriend (!!!) left and we were able to continue with our meeting. And I don’t even totally remember what was said because I was so exhausted from the craziness of the previous twenty minutes.

I had to come home and take a nap.

Neal can fire whomever he wants, he still isn’t getting a draft from me anytime soon.

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