Wednesday, August 24, 2011

That time I was late for college.

To anyone and everyone who knew me in high school, it is common knowledge that I am late for everything. Honestly. In fact, I feel more stressed and anxious when I'm NOT leaving five minutes before I'm expected somewhere. Or at the precise time I'm expected somewhere. Or ten minutes after I'm expected. But to those who paid attention to the hands of the clocks, it is obvious that my tardiness never exceeded the fifteen minute mark. Blatant disrespect of time follows the fifteen minute mark. So I spent my high school years being cordial in my lateness.

But to those who know me in college, or at least to they with whom I share the Monday/Wednesday/Friday block, I am a responsible adult who cares so much for punctuality to class that she doesn't even allow the thought of a bathroom break to possibly take her mind from being punctual, let alone acting on such a thought. But really its because I take public transit now, and for some reason my brain believes if I leave late but transport myself, somehow I won't be late. But if I leave late and a public bus drives me, I won't get there for four days.

And this punctual thing was working out quite well, at least until That time I was late for college. (Aka Tuesday. Aka the second day ever.)

I'd planned it well: I'd get on the 8:22 which would get me to campus some five minutes before class. "And if I'm late, its the first day. It'll be just like yesterday when it was generally understood by all its a new school year and some people don't know where their classes are or how to get there in a timely manner. If I'm late I'll just take the earlier bus."

Little did I know.

So I waited in morbid grief as the bus kept not coming to get me. I began calling my mother and fondling my bus pass and, to some degree hyper-venhalating. The bus came. I got on, took a nice seat, read some humorous scene in Urinetown the Musical, and got to campus at the time I planned. I hurried to Elizabeth Hall and climbed two flights of stairs. I entered my classroom, surprised it was so full.

Everyone was looking at me.

My brain brought back the image of the time I'd received from my phone moments before.


The teacher directed me to a seat. I took it, confused as to how the class was already so far in swing with it not even being the start time yet. "You're really late." Said the teacher mild-manneredly.

"The buses were crazy." I said, taking my seat in the far left corner, partcially obscured by his towering corner desk. He made a pleasant response back about the unreliability of buses.

I thought the topic over.

He continued to teach and the film of embarrassed ignorance coating me melted into insecurity and confusion. Was this the right class? I'd made sure of the room number before entering.

And the remainer of the film melted.

What time did this class start??

I couldn't bring myself to cause another distraction by digging in my bag for my well hidden schedule. I resolved to ask him in my serious, kind, bewildered manner after class.

But as luck would have it this man was more Professor Snape than Mr. Feeney.

During the course of my thought process he had begun talking about ediquette for the audience when someone is giving a speech (the course is Public Speaking, I see I failed to state this). "If you come in late," at this point I received a look, "then you do not come in. You wait at the door until..." I continued to listen, keeping my face from showing my mortification and embarrassment. Did I mention this class in particular had a 2-1 guy-girl ratio, and all but two of said guys were brutally attractive?

And then, from the cognitive gates of nowhere, Professor Snape turned to me and said "Half an hour late? Really?!"

And as the only Griffendor in the room, I stood alone in a sea of scornful Slytherins as he continued, "Is this too be expected?"

Half an hour late? Half an hour late? My fears had been confirmed, but in my defense, at this point Snape was half an hour late in his humiliation tactics. I explained I thought the class was at nine thirty. And then I made the mistake of declaring "that's what my schedule said."

"Oh did it?" He scoffed aside to Malfoy who must have been sitting in the opposite corner, because who else would Snape share a joke with, let alone a joke at a Griffendor's expense?

I had meant honestly to say I'd read the schedule wrong, or something more true and not as excuse-y. But I was buckling under the preasure of being the only person in the room not on the right side of the line. I tried to hide my discomfort and humiliation, and in doing so Snape read not my sincere contrition, but flagrant disrespect and unabashed indifference. Even when the phone of the girl directly in front of his lecture podium went off, the cruelty had to return to me. Even after the five minute, freeing rant about learning to turn technology off, the snarl had to come back to me.

I was going to apologize after class. I was going to explain myself with remorse. But he couldn't be adult about it. So I wasn't about to try to be adult about and risk turning into a blubbering, teary mess. No. I left the classroom, and metaphorically left behind any desire to have him respect me as a person, because thus far he's not making it easy to be done in reverse. No, I am writing a speech about theatre, Snape. I am not researching stem-cells just to impress you with my weighty and controversial topic. I am not going to sit anywhere else in your class, and you can remember every day how you alienated me, and how when I signed up for your class I felt you were going to be my favorite teacher. But I'm not going to cross into the baptismal waters to becoming Slytherin. You can be my favorite teacher when an immortal snake bites you into a bloodly mass and you let me keep your memories about your good intentions.

For now you're alive and I'm ill-expressed and as it stands I am not naming my son after you.

But I need this class to be an Auror. So I'll see you tomorrow Snape.

And I'll be on time.

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