Feedback Friday

Posted: December 13, 2013 in Feedback Friday
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It’s the middle of December, which means two things are rapidly approaching: Christmas, and the end of most college fall semesters. We’ll talk about Christmas next week, since I just can’t even right now, so this week we’re going to have a little chat about the second thing.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll do it again – back in September I embarked on my first foray into college since dropping out right before my sophomore year, way back in 2002. My initial experience is pretty much a blur, since I spent my freshman year going to school full-time, working full-time and doing things I’m really not going to tell you about because my mother reads this and who upsets their mother right before Christmas? Not this chick. The point is, I spent that one year 12 years ago chronically exhausted, and as a result I don’t really remember much about it. Going into this semester I was fresh, and excited, and ready to learn.

I learned things, all right. I learned things I never expected to learn. Like? Well…

I’m A Terrible Judge of Age

I spent the last 13 weeks sitting next to a girl, and it wasn’t until this past Tuesday that I realized she was not, as I had assumed, a college-aged student. She mentioned to someone that she needed to pass the class we were in in order to graduate high school, and subsequently revealed that she was 16 years old. I had two reactions to this. 1) The immediate realization that, in some cultures, I’m old enough to be this child’s mother. Followed quickly by 2) Frantically trying to remember everything I’d ever said to this girl, on the off-chance I was going to find her actual mother waiting in the parking lot to rip me a new one for corrupting her daughter. Which was silly, since I don’t really talk to anybody, let alone in minor-corrupting ways. But still. Wow.

In the opposite direction, I sat next to a woman for several weeks before it came out in discussion that she was in her 60s. Considering I’d pegged her as 40 at most, I had to resist the urge to rub myself all over her, with the hope that some of that age-defying awesomeness could be absorbed through creepy osmosis.

In a different class, the 30-year-old who sat behind me looked 12 and referred to the father of her two children as her “baby daddy”. The 33-year-old next to her looked like her face lost a fight with a mack truck. I fell vaguely in love with one of my professors (in a strictly academic sense, given the guy looks like Doc Brown only crazier, if that’s at all possible) and pegged him as being in his 40s, after he mentioned his 17-year-old son. Then he talked about being in college in the ‘70s and I was like, whaaa? Older than my dad, y’all. Let’s all mourn that missed therapy session for a second.

Doc Brown, for my younger readers. You make me sad.

All I’m saying is, I’m glad I’m not trying to date any of these people. Given how terrible I am at this, it would only be a matter of time before I was on the evening news screaming, “I thought he was 18!”.

Nobody Wears Pants

I’ve spent the last 9 years almost exclusively with small people I’ve made. Part of that job has involved extolling the virtues of clothing to individuals who want nothing more than to strip down and swan-dive off of my sofa. “Finally,” I thought, “I can go be with people who understand why it’s important to stay dressed in public.”


I didn’t know this before I started spending my mornings walking across campus, but apparently some people have a serious misunderstanding as to what pants are. Leggings? Are not pants. I mean, they kind of are, but you have to wear long shirts or sweaters and keep your crotch covered. Nobody looks good otherwise. Tights? Also not pants. REALLY, REALLY NOT PANTS. If you’re getting dressed in the morning, and you think to yourself, “These look just like leggings, only slightly more sheer – I’ll be fine”, you are mistaken. We can tell, and also, we can see your bazinga. You can get pants for like $10 at Wal-Mart. Fucking buy some.

Source, god love her

College Boys Are Not Subtle

I call them boys because they make me feel old, but they could be men I guess. See that age issue above for why I’m not sure on that. Whatever they are, they’ve provided me with endless entertainment over the last few months.

One morning, walking back to my car, I had a guy walk past me, give me a look, and then do a straight-about face and attach himself to my rear. He was following so close I considered getting checked for STDs when I got home. Part of me was hugely uncomfortable, as I couldn’t figure out what the hell he was doing and anyway, if my boobs (which are pretty awesome) had attracted him like a moth to a flame, he couldn’t see them anymore from where he was, so what the fuck? Another part of me was amused because seriously, fellas, if you’re going to whip around like that and then try to act like you were going in the same direction as the object of your affection? You look like a directionally-challenged idiot. We notice. We ALWAYS notice.

Looks about right.

I saw this kind of thing all semester long. They stare at asses, they stare at breasts, they stare at your non-pants and try to figure out if they’re allowed to look at your thong. (A girl on my campus likes to wear black tights with a sheer-crotch, belly shirts and lace thongs. It’s awesome for everybody involved, not least being the poor boy-men I’ve been stuck walking beside who give themselves whiplash trying to determine what to do with their eyes.) Unlike grown men, who in general have perfected the glance-and-assess-without-being-pervy, their timing is off. They stare for too long. They physically move their heads up and down, rather than just their eyes. They walk into things.

The thing is, I don’t think the majority of them mean to be pervy. They just haven’t mastered what they’re doing yet. I feel more pity for them than anything else. It’s okay, Baby Bear. You’ll get it someday.

Creative Types Are Assholes

I’m working toward my A.A. in Creative Writing, and, uh, I write things here, so I’m including myself in this category. I just didn’t realize it until I started spending hours a week with other creative people. We can be dicks.

The people in my writing class were a fascinating mix – shyness, humor, uncertainty, and unbridled ego. That last one belonged to one guy who I gave serious consideration to tracking down and beating in the parking lot after he told the rest of us we didn’t enjoy poetry because we weren’t smart enough to understand it. And he was serious; he genuinely believed that his tastes were superior to ours, and so was his intellect, because of what he read.

The Pessimist

I read everything. Romance, mystery, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, literature, non-fiction – I’m not picky. Well, I am picky, but not about genre. I don’t believe that there’s any genre that is better than all the others. No, not even literature. Each offers something different, and I enjoy them all for different reasons. Including, yes, poetry. Just not metaphor-heavy poetry, and I think I know why: I spend my day deciphering the language of the half-literate, mostly uncivilized people I live with. I don’t have time to contemplate what the night moon stands for when I’m still trying to figure out what I can and can’t do to avoid pissing off my daughter’s imaginary friend. Who is a pig. That flies, I think? I don’t fucking know.

At any rate, he was judgy, and it pissed me off. And the entire semester was like that – somebody was judgmental of something somebody else read, or said, or wrote, and by the time we had our last class I was really glad I didn’t have to see his stupid face ever again. Except I will, when we end up in the same writing class with each other next semester.

Kill me now.

Community College Is Not Clown College

Since I’m going for my A.A., it should be obvious that I’m going to a 2-year school. I might end up going for my 4-year degree, I might not; in this industry, the degree doesn’t really help you get book contracts or readers, so it’s not like I’m spending all this tuition on future job security. That doesn’t, however, mean the degree, either 2- or 4-year, is entirely useless. It’s all about the work you put in and what you’re willing to squeeze out of the experience.

Recently, an acquaintance expressed disdain for community college, and derided someone she knew who was proud of the GPA they earned as a student at a c.c. For a few days I was bummed out over what she said. Then I decided, you know what? Fuck that.

Unless I severely screw up a final paper I have due next week, it’s looking like I’ll finish this semester with straight As. I don’t have less than a 98% in any of my classes, and in some of them my grade is a full 100%. That doesn’t mean the work I’ve done has been easy; some of those 100s are the result of extra credit work I did, and some are because I spent hours studying for a test or working on a paper that I got a perfect score on. At no time during any of this have I been free to half-ass my work and still do well. I’ve worked hard for the grades I have, and yeah, I’m damn proud of them, community college or not.

I have attended a 4-year school in the past – Penn State, actually, which is a name I think everybody knows (although maybe not for the best reasons). As I mentioned before, the year I spent there is a bit of a blur, but I do remember most of the professors I had, and here’s a fact: the professors I’ve had this semester were miles and miles above those I had at my fancy, prestigious four-year institution. With one exception, and I say that only because it’s an online class and I suspect my interpretation of the prof’s behavior is skewed by the medium, all of my professors have been kind, funny, interested in helping their students do the best they can and wicked smart. Now I’m not saying you can’t find that at a four-year school; you can, and you do. What I am saying is that community college does not equal sub-par professors, easy classes and a joke degree. (I’m sensitive about this, and I readily admit that.) So that person who sneered at community college and their friend’s pride can take their sense of superiority and bite me.



I know! I have one! I read something not related to school, and I’m super happy about it. Not sure I’m happy with my choice, though. Hugh Howey’s I, Zombie is an interesting take on the zombie apocalypse, as it’s told from the point-of-view of the zombies themselves. The idea is that the zombies are still fully conscious and mentally intact, just trapped inside their zombified bodies and unable to control what they’re doing. It jumps between a few different people, each with different experiences before and after the onset of the apocalypse. I don’t want to say I enjoyed it; that feels weird, since it’s graphically violent and pretty disturbing. It did, however, make me think, and sometimes maybe that’s all I can expect out of a book. If you’re not bothered by violence and grossness, check it out.

And hey, while I have you here and we’re talking about books, has anybody read Marrisa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles? I read the first 5 chapters of Cinder, and I’m trying to decide if it’s worth buying the books and reading further. The story seems interesting – I do love modern twists on fairy tales – but I’m hesitant. Input appreciated.

I guess that’s all I have. I’m off to work on a paper and study for yet another final exam. See you Sunday!

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