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01.25.02 4:11 p.m.

Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.


 -Stephen Vincent Benét  




Varmints
Classes have begun again. Like the decaying of autumnal leaves, it gives a degree of enrichment to the world but first you must deal with mud and worms.
I have only one Education class this semester, thankfully. It possesses the dubious title "Introduction to Educational Assessment." What, you might wonder, is the actual point of that class? I don't know. I'll wager a goodly sum that is one were to ask Jenks (the name Emily gave the teacher of this class), he would quote something the head of the department had said, though it would as likely be the chairman's grocery list as it would be anything even vaguely pertaining to the subject. Jenks, I believe, is not a free-thinking human being. He is, for point of reference, the man who folded like a cheap card table when my advisor felt the need to gamble with my future out of spite. His lack of spine and a developed brain causes him to slouch like an annelid on a fishing line. He did not espouse an original thought for the entire duration of the class and when he smiled, it was like a skittish lower case "v." He gave us a brief break during this three hour class and said, "I want you all back here at 2:27 by my watch," and never said what his watch read. So I just walked around and tried to subdue the Fist of Death rising by his gross ineptitude as a pedagogue.
I don't much like him.
I also had to try to find a new job on campus. Owing to my advisor screwing with my classes, I could not give my old boss my schedule on time. Do you see how perfectly evil she is?!
I smiled and shimmered for various different offices in hopes they could employ me. I'm afraid most of it is the equivalent of filing, but it is likely better than sitting bored six hours a week. Outside of classes, I mean.
The next day, I had my first taste of Shakespeare with a man I am choosing to title Mr. Badger because, well, he looks like a badger to me. He is a very jolly man, I would say. And, in the first 45 minutes of his class, I think I can honestly say I learned more about Shakespeare and his plays than I even did in my prior Shakespeare class (taught by, in Kate's words, an elf). I also got off the wait list, so I am actually getting credit for being present. I think I'm going to love this class.
From the moment I walked in, I noticed a girl across the room frequently glancing over at me. I was actually fairly flattered, as I don't often get checked out and this lass certainly was doing so. When I would meet her gaze to make her aware that I knew she was scoping me out, she didn't even shyly look away, which is kind of admirable. Since I don't remember her name and haven't spoken to her, we'll call her Anony-Miss.
After this class, I had a several hour break. I met with M briefly for lunch and the ceremonial walking her to her class. Then, I curled up on a comfy couch in one of the campus coffee shops and dozed/read. Whenever someone would speak around me, I would resume reading my Anne Rice until I felt sleepy again (I had been suffering from insomnia for a few nights). I woke up permanently when M appeared in the cafe and put her hand near my head. I think I'm very good at sensing people I know around me. Then we both read Anne Rice, she, Memnoch the Devil, and I, Blood & Gold. We kept happily chittering to one another about the plots in the respective books and about the fates of our favorite blood drinkers. I didn't reveal too much to her. I did realize, however, that M can speed read. She got through seventy odd pages in the time it took for me to read thirty. That's cheating!
After indulging our vampire obsession, I went to my Spanish class. The teacher is very perky and tries to get the class involved. This would mean a lot more if the class actually seemed to be the sort that allows themselves to get involved. There was a cadre of similarly dressed girls to my left that kept insisting, "I dunno dat sorta shit," even when asked their names and ages in Spanish. They should certainly have this decidedly limited ability at this level. Oh, well. We'll call my teacher Gerbil, because I am into the concept of my teachers being rodents.
My next and last class was American Literature. I was pretty worn out, though this is entirely owing to my lack of nocturnal sleep. I found the overcrowded, basement classroom and walked in. There was Anony-Miss, meeting my gaze. Oh. Dear. I ended up sitting a few rows directly in front of her. If she was still looking at me, I certainly didn't know about it. If so, I hope the back of my head was interesting.
My teacher seems immensely cool. We'll call her Mrs. Ermine because I couldn't figure out which rodent is native to Ireland. She showed us a movie on tanks and one featuring Charlie Chaplin to illustrate the concept of "modernity". I can tell I am going to like this class. You know, if it weren't for Hitler, I think Chaplin's mustache would still be very popular. Bastard.



Soon in Xenology: M goes to an Asian country. I see Urinetown. I learn more developmental psychology. Anony-Miss might be in that class. I see Sifl and Olly!



last watched: The Simpsons
reading: Blood & Gold, Anne Rice
listening: I Never Learned To Swim, Jill Sobule
wanting: no more ed classes.
interesting thought: I'm not as gooey as I once was.
moment of zen: not having classes on Fridays.
someday I must: be fulfilled.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.



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