Friday, 23 January 2009

Sweet Dignity

Homeschoolers dread doing university group projects, but my team has thus far proven to be excellent. Our first assignment was to interview our team members and write up a "mission statement" for the class that introduced our team and our goal (which, according to the professor, was to design a commemorative snowboard for the 2010 Olympics).

I'm glad that my enthusiasm was eclipsed by the other members of the team, because our mission statement ended up being inspirational, with an extended metaphor and accompanying "vow". One team-member wrote a short poem to go along with the mission statement, then somebody hit on the idea of everyone wearing a different part of a snowboarder's outfit to visually display how we were different parts of the same thing.

So there we were, sitting in class, waiting to present. The first team to present had their spokesperson flip open a laptop and read a few dry, factual paragraphs about their team members. Nobody even stood up. That's when my team first glanced nervously at each other. The second and third groups followed in the footsteps of the first team. Then the professor called on us. We got up, decked out in snowpants, goggles and gloves, trooped to the front of the classroom and took turns reading stanzas from our motivational piece of art. We were the only team who was applauded.

I would have laughed myself silly if our team had gone first and set the standard.

And speaking of standards, it's the general rule in computer labs, like in libraries, that even though the computers have speakers, they're not to be used. When I was typing up the last blog post someone decided to ignore that rule. Although I, and the rest of the computer lab users, turned to look over our shoulders and send death glares toward the unknown culprit, the noise didn't stop. At first I thought it sounded like Tim Allen doing some comedy routine, but wasn't interested enough to pay real attention. After about ten minutes we tuned the noise out, but apparently the lady at the front desk didn't.

Eventually she walked politely up and down the room, looking for the perpetrator. She turned down my row and walked up and down that as well. She stopped at me.

"Excuse me," she said, "but can you please either turn it down or use headphones?"

"Oh," I said, "It's not me."

"Oh! I'm so sorry!" she exclaimed quietly and scuttled back to the front desk, embarrassed.

A few minutes later, I finished posting, so I hit the X. And saw a pop-up add of a basketball game. Suddenly a little concerned, I hit the X on the pop-up. The sound stopped.

To quote Terry Pratchett: "He moved in a way that suggested he was attempting the world speed record for the nonchalant walk."

Oops. I could have sworn the sound was coming from behind me.


Anonymous said...

I love your accompanying quotes, Carla! :)

steph said...

haha, that's great! i would totally have a sheepish embarrassed look!