Monday, February 13, 2006

Learning to study ... the hard way

In addition to being the lone black woman at my job, I’m also pursuing a master’s in English at a local university. I’m taking one class this semester in linguistics. The subject is interesting and the professor seems to be very knowledgeable about the topic. The problem is, we have a quiz this week and I’m freaking out.
This is my first year in graduate school and I haven’t had to study for an exam in several years. I never really had to study that much in undergrad either, since I have a pretty good memory. I probably could’ve made the dean’s list each semester if I only tried harder, but that’s another story.
The problem with me now is learning to study. There was about a foot of snow in my neighborhood the other day, but I dug my car out and went to Barnes & Noble to study. I knew if I stayed inside, the TV, the phone, or my cat would distract me from the task at hand. I was proud of myself for making such a mature decision. Seems like things couldn’t go wrong, huh? Guess again.
B&N was practically abandoned because everyone is avoiding the snowfall. I ordered a chai tea and I had no trouble finding a table. I saw a woman nearby, sharing a seat with a man. I could only see the back of his head and I couldn’t hear anything he’s saying, but whatever it was, it must have been the funniest thing in the world. Every other second, this chick laughed like a banshee. I mean, you would’ve thought he had her pinned to the ground and was tickling her she was laughing so hard. I tried to immerse myself in the world of labials and bilaterals, but ol’ girl’s guffaws are a bit much for me. I considered going to their table to warn her against ‘jumping the couch,’ but I couldn’t work up the nerve. So I grabbed my things and went to the next table.
This time, I’m seated far enough away from the hyena that I could get some serious work done. I had my notecards written up and I was highlighting away. Next thing I know, the sound of a person on a cellphone interrupts my studious thoughts. I look up and there’s this blonde girl practically screaming into her cellphone about some other girl who doesn’t like her. Great. Just when I thought Blondie was leaving, she dropped her things on the table in front of me and sits down. Double great. Are people allowed to talk on cell phones in bookstores? Or are those rules limited to the library? I dunno. Finally, she hung up the phone. *Whew!* Next thing I know, I heard the most frightening sound coming out of nowhere. The noise is similar to the one my cat makes when I accidentally step on his tail. I looked to the right and groan. It’s Blondie again. This time, she was blasting her iPod. *Grr* I move again.
My third location gave me the chance to finish my tea in peace. I nearly finished reading my chapter when I was confronted with a sight that I should be used to in my neighborhood this time of year: Man In Shorts. Yep, shorts. Now I was wearing longjohns underneath my clothes, my coat, hat and gloves and I was still cold in these elements. Not Man In Shorts. He thrived on the cold without worries of pneumonia or the flu. Whenever I see him or one of his followers, I’m tempted to do my imitation of Nancy Kerrigan and screech, "WHY???!!!" But I’m too polite for such shenanigans. So I just moved to the next table so that my back faced Man In Shorts.
I was about to dig back into the books when I realize my stomach is rumbling. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. I tossed my books inside my bag and wondered what I was going to eat for dinner. Then I remembered my aunt, Pixie. If I just went to her house for a visit, she’d surely feed me. She always did. I called her up and she cleared me to come on by. As soon as I walked in the door, I was greeted with a plate of spaghetti. *Sigh * That’s what’s family’s for, I tell ya.
The linguistics exam is in two days. I’ve been able to study, despite my distractions. I can’t help but hope and pray that it snows on Wednesday and class is canceled. Since the chances of that are slim, I guess I’d better get back to the books.

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