Thursday, July 20, 2006

loud mouth noises

My horoscope this week says that I should "Liberate [my] grunt." Apparently "making loud mouth noises loosens your inhibitions, boosts your confidence, and lubricates your power." It sure doesn't feel like my power is getting lubed up, though, when I'm out there every day screaming "FUCK! FUCK! FUCKING MOVE YOUR FUCKING MOTHERFUCKING ASS!" at all the other cars on the road. And those are some of the loudest mouth noises I know how to make.

As you may have noticed, I'm having some school issues right now. I have approximately one more week to go, and a third of the class work left to do. I took a math test yesterday that I'm genuinely not sure I passed. (I'll now remind you that if I don't get straight A's in all of these classes, I lose a year of my life.) I was seconds away from turning in an assignment in class last night when I realized that everyone else had done it in a completely different format than me, so I rushed home, re-did it, and emailed it to the professor. Who told us at the beginning of class that he only checks his email once or twice a week. This was half the grade for a stupid pass/fail one-unit class in research skills that they tack onto freshman comp., and I'm now concerned that I've failed that class, which I couldn't even re-take without re-taking the whole shebang.

I have this problem where my — instructors? professors? I never know what to call them at a community college — say something and I understand it one way, but every single other person in the class understands something else. I'm pretty sure this is because I'm hearing more or less what the words really mean, and everyone else is somehow magically pulling the thing that was actually meant out of their asses based on, like, the instructor's facial expression or something. In other words, I don't speak Human, I only speak Book. Except that it happens with written assignments, too. So, anyway, I'm constantly terrified that I've done whatever the assignment is completely wrong and will fail it because I don't listen right.

And here's another goddamn thing. My writing instructor firmly believes that "it's not just this thing, it's the other too" constructions are comma splices. He's commented on the same exact construction in two different papers. (And, I might add, that's the most substantive feedback he's given me.) In both papers, I had fucking sentence fragments all over the place, I had excessive parentheticals, I had far too many emdashes, I started sentences with "and" and "but," and I'm pretty sure I even did things that are closer to comma splices than that. But no, that's the only thing he doesn't feel is acceptable as a stylistic choice. And I probably did it in my third paper, too. This is why I'll fail freshman composition.

Actually, I have to admit, I'm mostly upset with my instructor because he gave me only a 97 on my second paper. And I don't know why. He gave me no concrete indication of what made it not as good as my first paper. Yes, I know, 97 is still a very good grade. But let me tell you a little story. I was sitting in the classroom on Monday, waiting for class to start, when another girl in my class started asking the rest of us what grade we'd gotten on our second papers. Everyone remembers from elementary school that asking people what grade they got on something is just an excuse to talk about what you got yourself, right? So, of course, after carefully establishing that she had a higher grade than anyone who had actually bothered to answer her question, she started talking about how she got a 95 and she had written it in, like, 20 minutes the day it was due, and her father even read it and told her it was bullshit, and yadda yadda yadda.

So it's bad enough that I spent all weekend on my paper and someone who wrote hers on the same day it was due (though 20 minutes has got to be an exaggeration) got a grade only two points less than mine. But it gets worse. Later on in class, the instructor was trying to start up a discussion on race, and we were talking about, er, the n word. (He made us watch an episode of Oprah featuring the cast from Crash. Let's never speak of that again.) At her very first opportunity to speak, this same girl busted out angrily, "You know, they really need to decide whether it's okay to use that word or not. I mean, they've been trying for all this time to fit in and be like everybody else and now there's this word that they can use and we're not allowed to? They just need to make up their minds about it."

I'm going to let that sit for a second.

And then I'm going to point out that this is the same girl who tried to argue that there are, in fact, plenty of positive images of women in movies, cause what about Snow White and Cinderella and stuff?

And then I'm going to point out that she wears these big, fat, white, puffy Dolce & Gabbana sneakers every single day, which if you had ever seen them you would understand to be an even more reliable indicator of mental retardation than the above comments.

So, what I'd like to know is, how bad must my second paper have been, really, if it was only 2 points better than hers? It's upsetting.

* * *

Ha, UPDATE: I got an email back from my writing instructor, who says that I did the assignment fine. He also says — well, I'll blockquote it, just because I think it would look good in a frame:
Your writing, by the way, is always clear and all of your chosen topics are highly interesting. The level of sophistication should earn you a grade higher than an A. It's a real pleasure following your thought on paper.
I'm thinking of embroidering it on a pillow. I'm also thinking of writing him back to say, "then why, then, the fuck did I only get a 97 on that paper?"

Now I'm shutting up about school.


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