The Boring Lecturer MAG

By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   A bee was flying around me, swooping and diving, buzzing in my ear. Finally landing, the bee drilled its stinger into my nose like an Alaskan drilling for oil. I jumped. The bee metamor-phosed into the lady professor standing at the front of the room in a starched shirt and brown Hush Puppies, and she kept buzzing like the bee. What intellectual idea was she now pursuing that had caused me to lapse into this state of semi-consciousness? The low drone turned into words: " ...improves with every passing year." Was that like a fine wine? Chardonnay? I am sitting under a giant poplar with a young man, sipping Chardonnay out of elegant crystal wine glasses. Suddenly, a bee approaches us, swooping and diving ...

What magical gift does this woman possess that enables her to put me to sleep without a watch dangling in front of my eyes? Her words float through the air like dust, gathering on my eyelids, weighing them down, until ultimately my eyes are forced shut and the words slide off like skiers on a slope, not even penetrating my outer-most layer of skin.

When I am not sleeping, my eyes are a department store video monitor, roaming back and forth across the room, and my mind is set free like water released from a dam. Seventy-two tiles compose the floor and the boy in front of me has a birthmark the size of my fist on his neck. What if I touched it? Would the skin feel as soft and fragile as it looks? I focus my attention on the speaker, whose eyes look like they are drawn by an art student who has not yet mastered the spacing of the facial features. Her nose twitches when she talks, a strange peculiarity for such a boring speaker.

The bee is buzzing: I have chosen to ignore it. Instead, I stare at the woman, not quite daydreaming, but lost in abysmal thought. She has the appearance of a lady whose pencil tips are always sharp. She probably orders plain hamburgers, drinks black coffee, and has pet fish. When she was a child, she probably never believed that the clouds were cotton balls or that it was possible to dig a hole to China with a plastic sand shovel.

Instead, she is a no-nonsense speaker with a destination, a lady who thrives on four-lane highways and Dunkin' Donuts drive-thrus, a lover of facts and realism, a hater of theory and myth. She does not have time to stop, to explain her multi-syllable words, to make sure her point is clear. She has a plane to catch, a race to win; the finish line is near. The race is not enjoyable, but the rewards when she finally reaches the end make the torture worthwhile. Her eyes and her body language echo her thoughts: how much longer does she have to stand in front of this squirming mass of teenagers? And why aren't they enjoying her lecture? (She had been such a big success at the board meeting last month - the students' lack of interest made no sense.)

Her voice, showing no emotion, seems unaltered, unaffected by the years. Flat and monotonous, had this voice ever been raised to communicate anger? Had it ever been softened to soothe a crying baby? Hers was not the voice of a woman excited and touched by the experiences that life had brought her, but that of a lady who had lived in a cocoon all of her life. If she was caught in a perilous situation, would her facial expressions change, would her voice show any hint of fear?

The professor, a man and I are in an elevator. Suddenly the cable breaks and we hurtle toward the ground below. A bee, swooping and diving, is circling around us, and the man next to me taps me on the shoulder, asking if I have any gum. As we are about to crash into the basement floor the elevator alarm goes off. I close my notebook, where I had practiced all the different ways to spell my name, and head for the door. n

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i love this so much!


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