I yank the heavy door open, and am blinded by the sun reaching across the room to push my eyelids shut. I stop and am bumped from behind by the people following, anxious to get in to class on time as well.
Despite the lightning bright sun, I feel that the room is chilled and impersonal. My eyes adjust to the brightness, and I veer left to step sideways to my chosen seat. Today it is not taken. Yay!
I don't know why I am so happy about MY chair not being taken. It is a hospital gray plastic monstrosity waiting to ice my butt. I breathe a sigh of relief as Alanna is not here yet, and I have time to fight with my backpack to get out all the Accoutrements of the class before she starts teaching and I have to be quiet.
I checked my cell phone to make sure it was off, and while hearing the beep beep beep of the cellphone lowering I hear other people scrambling to turn theirs off as well. I click my computer plug into the white extension cord that is hanging above the bright orange cord extending across the room for the people in the middle seats to plug-in their computers, and I shimmy back into MY chair. I start up my computer and hear the other computers in the room echoing the loud start up sound that won't be quiet even with the headphones already attached to the silver monster. Why would anyone make such an annoyance. People are trying so hard to be quiet in Alanna's class, and each and every computer has that blaring sing-song quality to announce to anyone within a one block radius that it is turned on. Ah well, take a deep breath and put your hands over your nose to warm up, I told myself.
The quiet chatter in the background stifles immediately as Alanna breezes into the room with a cheerful smile and a knowing gaze as she scans the room to see who is already here. We wait patiently as she sets up her white computer and searches for the speaker attachment, the projector-on button, and the proper selector for computer, DVD, or DVD computer, whichever it will be today. I wince when I hear that as she plugs in the speakers to her computer, they are already turned on, and I am chilled even more by the sound that emits from them.
Another class is about to start.
13 weeks of training are almost over today, and now the real test has begun. 23 recommended and required chapters, a mid-term, a stack of note cards handed back, a learning contract, various in-class and online assignments and at least 4 group activities later I am still mystified as to what we are learning here!
I know I've learned how to be quiet, and how to put my mittens under my butt to keep warm, and how to train myself in the art of organizing accessories for quick retrieval and quiet mode, and how not to laugh when I spot the bunny going by one way and then the other in incessant hops through the bush outside our classroom window just as Alanna reaches an epiphany of discussion within the class.
must ready myself for the final test. I hope that the heating unit in the building will be prepared so that I am not distracted by my breath fogging up my glasses and the sniffling of students stressed bodies fighting the illness that comes from lack of sleep and bad nutrition as they consistently head out the door every morning of the finals without breakfast in a mad frenzy to get to class on time.
I have my loonies and quarters ready for the vending machine coffee that purports to warm me up, and my extra packs of Kleenex and cough drops for those snivelers, and a pair of ear plugs to keep my senses focused. I think I'm ready.
I look around the room, and see that Alex is day dreaming again; Joey is quietly laughing at a joke he told himself; Emma is chatting with her friend, and Jen is cocking her ear the same as me to hear what Alanna is saying; although I am doing that because of the sounds in my head that are distracting me. I hear myself saying things like, "What is Lucas staring at?" or "Why does Arlee have her hands in her pockets?" Then I thought, "Oh, maybe she's cold too", and I turn my attention back to Alanna. Darn, she's stopped talking and is waiting for an answer to a question I missed with all my chattering. Then I thought that it's a good thing I'm a woman and I can multitask. I scanned through my memory and found her question just as she raised her eyebrows at me. So, I answered, "Phenomenology, p-h-e-n-o-m-e-n-o-l-o-g-y?" She looked at me with exasperation, so I screwed my face up and shrugged my shoulders saying, "Sorry, I wasn't listening".
The whole class laughed. Then I woke up in the JLL Lounge. Darn, I was going to be late for class...