We’re a fair way into semester. Actually, we’re in the home stretch, where the light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be the headlight of the oncoming train.
In my classes, major research papers were due a couple weeks ago, and last week, my lit classes had oral presentations. It’s been a quiet semester, apart from the odd narcoleptic and the notes I get once a week from Bossy. I was wondering about this, given how eventful last semester was, but not, I am quick to point out, in an ungrateful way.
So, I’m idly wondering where my quota of assholes hem, “problem students” for the semester has got to, when I get a series of emails from some guy whose name I don’t at all recognize about how he has an essay to hand in. “Wait, whut?” is pretty much my response, but he’s persistent.
If by “persistent” you understand that I mean “an annoying asshole”. First, he turns up randomly at my office 2 hours before any advertised office hour and hassles Sarcastic Bastard for 20 minutes about where am I. Then, he comes to class, and at the end of it, attempts to hassle me about where was I when I wasn’t in my office at 9am on Monday morning. In response to my mild-mannered enquiry about why would I be, he says, “Well, I said I wanted to meet you then, and when you didn’t reply to my email, I assumed you would be there.”
Did you get that, gentle readers? The correct response to receiving no answer to your emails is to assume the answer is “yes”. I am going to get right on to emailing everyone I know (oh, why stop there? I will email everyone I don’t know, too) asking for outrageous favours. When you fail to respond, I will naturally assume this means you are coming over to scrub my floors and dig my veggie garden on the weekend, while I go off to an all-expenses paid trip to the spa, and that you all will be doing any parenting or marking that my spa attendage might cause me to neglect. Also, that those gift certificates from EatSleepKnit are in the mail.
Anyway, back to the annoying asshole (who, and I am sure you will appreciate this little detail, wears a black leather jacket and has a saxophone in a hard case strapped to his back, presumably so people will know he is an arty-farty jazz-head-type asshole), who comes up to me at the end of class and says “I tried to see you in your office hour.” Oooh! Outrageous lie! Can I resist calling him on it? You know I cannot.
“Well, I know you turned up at my office at a random time and were rude to my office mate,” I say. He is startled by this, like, it had not occurred to him that professors might communicate with one another. “Well, anyway,” he carries on, after his momentary pause, and then wants to talk to me about what he needs to do to pass the class, because, he says, he has worked out that it is “statistically possible”. What he doesn’t say is “even though I have only been to 3 classes all term”. So I helpfully point this out, and then he wants to throw down over whether it has been 3 classes or 4.
Really? That’s the hill you want to die on? I say, with my eyebrows, while with my mouth I say things about how it’s oral presentations, and he needed to pick a topic 10 days ago. “…but, since you don’t think my rules apply to you, I am sure you are going to suggest you can give me a topic at this point.” Gentle readers, I know you saw what I did there, all sarcasmic and everything, but does Sax guy? You know he does not. “I will have it to you by the end of the day.” This, in leather-jacketed jazz-sax-land means midnight, of course, at which time he picks a sonnet by Shakespeare that some other student, one who attends class and does actual work already has dibs on. By this point, I am severely irritated, plus I am conflicted at letting this asshole participate in peer-marking situations, especially when he hasn’t been in class all semester. So I say “give me your essay, but I am not going to let you present.”
The essay (dreadfully written pile of unsourced nonsense that it is) eventually turns up, but the student does not. Want to make a bet on whether he shows up for the final?
Oh, and narcolepsy update: I made her sit in the back during oral presentations, which apparently finally clued her in to the fact that the nodding off thing was annoying everyone, and not just me, and since then she has been making noteworthy efforts to actually stay awake.