On Thursday, I received a number of pre-spring-break, post-1st-major-assignment visits, emails and phone calls from students who are now hopelessly behind.
These communiqués are always bad for my blood pressure. I start obsessing about what I will say if they challenge my “no makeups without a medical excuse” policy. I twitch every time I think of the student who insists that she DID hand in the essay on the due date, and promises to email me a copy at the end of the day, but then doesn’t. I start anticipating. I start feeling sorry for myself, and angry at them.
On Friday morning, sitting on the metro on the way to work, I was reading the last few chapters of Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, but I was distracted, thinking about the phone messages that might be waiting for me when I arrived at the office. I put the book down on my lap and stared at the bobbing metro wall for a while. It was decorated with one of those shocking STD service announcements that show a girl’s panties down around her thighs, her crotch covered by a black bubble and text that translates as “The thing about chlamydia is that often you can’t see it.”
Everything, I thought, is a slippery slope.
Then I looked down at the book in my lap. And I thought:
You know what? I’m not being held hostage by South American terrorists.
[Note: something else I’d like to learn: if anyone has any knowledge of what constitutes “fair use” of book cover images for blog posts, I would like very much to know. I’m assuming that I’m safe to use a cover image for a post like this, but I can’t find any clear confirmation of this fact.]