Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Slight respite

So I'm finally done with midterms. I handed in my psychopathology midterm a day early, because I could have kept editing and editing, but I just wanted to be through with it. And I'm confident that I answered the questions comprehensively and concisely, which is what he wanted. The T.A. stressed again that Dr. Jerk is a fair grader -- so we'll see about that next week.

During IQ testing lab today I made my T.A. laugh and also made sure to ask her questions that I knew the answers to, phrasing them to suggest that I really had no clue. She loves correcting me.

Later in the computer room I heard her telling a bunch of people that today's her birthday. She is almost 10 years younger than I am. That's pretty galling. Also, she nattered on about the diamond earrings she was wearing -- last year's birthday/one-year anniversary gift from her boyfriend. (My back was turned to her, and since I hadn't noticed them in lab, I assumed they weren't much to look at.) She said that Fortunoff's considers the earrings "updateable" -- i.e., you can trade them in every year for a bigger pair.

Then she started blathering about how it was their two-year anniversary, and everyone kept asking them when they were getting married. "But I keep telling them, we're too young to even be thinking about getting married! We are nowhere near getting married!"

As a chronically single girl almost a decade older than this maddening infant, I have only one word: Feh. But I sent her an electronic birthday card, anyway. (She wrote back: "Ayelet, thank you so much for your thoughtful card. It really put a smile on my face. Good luck with midterms.")

You have to feel a little sorry for the girl. Not only is she a control freak, but her boyfriend's a moron -- who shops retail for diamonds? Although, being a control freak, she probably likes having a stupid boyfriend -- easier to control.

After lab and before my next class, I went for a very relaxing manicure/pedicure, since the glorious unseasonable weather has me wearing sandals again. The manicurist must have appreciated the tip I gave her, because she threw in a nice little shoulder rub while I was drying.

It was so relaxing -- I had hours to kill before my next class, but all of the salon personnel were busy. So they had me sit on a pedicure chair and put my feet in the footbath for about 10 minutes while she finished up with another customer.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh.... I sat reading Star magazine (poor Katie Holmes, apparently Tom Cruise is a control freak who is ruining her career and making her life miserable) while my feet soaked in the hot water, which periodically bubbled and rushed like a jacuzzi. The salon is a five-minute stroll from school, and it's a million miles away.

It made me so happy, as I walked back to school in the warm November sunshine, that I almost worried I was starting to enter hypomania.

I think I'm going to try to go to that salon about once a month. It's less than $20, tax and tip included, and I felt so restored. Besides, even if I'm not wearing sandals or open-toe shoes, I like it when my feet look pretty. It makes me feel polished -- no pun intended -- and attractive. And my fingernails definitely look better than when I do them. And it's a healthier treat than chocolate.

It almost makes me forget that yesterday I missed Class Meeting (CM).

CM is a session the whole class has with Dr. Octopussy, the deputy director of the program. It's supposed to fill us in on the secrets of success in the program -- when to take which classes, how to apply for an internship, etc. Most of us students consider it a colossal waste of time.

Anyway -- we didn't have one all October, and then were supposed to reconvene 10/31. And I forgot. Simply, completely forgot.

This was killing me -- aren't I already enough of a black sheep, as far as Dr. Octopussy and the faculty are concerned? And I have no excuse. I didn't sleep late, I didn't deliberately decide not to come. I just forgot.

This bothers me. I forgot my first meeting with Dr. Octopussy, then got the news about my loose boundaries at the second. I have another meeting with her a week from tomorrow.

I want to tell her that I'm usually a very reliable, punctual person, and I'm very upset and bothered by missing CM. That is not who I am, a person who blows off meetings. I wonder if she'll believe me.

One classmate, who knows about my disorder, told me that in CM Dr. Octopussy encouraged people to speak up about anything -- disclose, disclose. Nobody did. I can't believe she's sending out that kind of mixed message, when I'm being hammered for disclosing inappropriately. (Of course, there could be some significant difference I just can't see between disclosing in CM and disclosing during a guest lecture.)

I also wonder if my T.A.'s opinion of me is factored into this faculty judgment of loose boundaries. The way I made her (and my labmates) laugh today was by telling them about my first test administration. I told the guy I tested that it was my first time -- "so please be gentle."

Hilarity. Several minutes of laughter.

But will the mousy blonde T.A. take this tidbit and run it back to Dr. Jerk, who will raise it at the next faculty meeting?

I really need to learn how to shut up in class. And I need to learn fast. I suppose I should ask my T.A., at some point, if I'm contributing in lab at a suitable level, and if my little "be-gentle" joke was incredibly inappropriate or just mildly inappropriate.
Copyright (c) 2006 "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. Suggestion --

    Before you speak, ask yourself if your comment/question will enhance everyone else's educational experience, or will it provide information you need? Are you raising a point that adds to the teacher's objectives, or undermines them? There is no long term benefit to asking questions you already know how to answer. Odds are other people already have the info, too, and you're underselling yourself. If your question/ comment doesn't meet one of these objectives, just swallow it. Not every thought needs to be expressed.

  2. Captain Carmen11/01/2006 11:35 PM

    Yeah, whatever, anonymous. If people thought that long and hard before speaking up in class, the opportunity would be gone and nobody'd be interested in revisiting ten-minutes-ago's topic.

    You need to be in an environment that encourages discussion and collaboration. Or maybe I'm just coming from a creative background and I should just shut up.

    I think the joke was perfectly harmless and if anything, the audience reaction was overblown. That should be more telling, Ayelet, than anything you did or didn't say. They're buttoned-up and repressed, and stressed, and you have to join their ranks and march in step - most of the time. But inside, you're a little more free and clear. Relish it.

  3. Anonymous is on the mark. Thoughtful comments. Practicing will make thinking before speaking automatic after a while. And you'll worry less about whether you've spoken out of turn.

  4. The T.A. really sounds like a piece of work. I'm really proud of you for keeping your cool around her. And I don't think the joke was so bad; I would agree that the class's reaction was probably a bit overblown. I mean, what you said was funny, but it wasn't THAT funny.