Thursday, June 18, 2009


Tuesdays and Thursdays are Calculus only. I've found a chair I really like. It's in the second row on the very end near the door. It's not being near the door that I like about it, it's that the row has one more seat than the row in front of it, so I have a clear view of Amine and the board.

The downside is that the front of the classroom is popular, so there's always someone new sitting next to me. They always smell like coffee. I always wonder, again, if I smell like kids and a dog and a mortgage. I hope I smell like shampoo and toothpaste, but regardless, it makes me uncomfortable to think that I smell like anything to these kids.

I don't wonder any more if I look old to them. It doesn't matter. I know I stick out in a Sesame Street, "One of these things is not like the other" kind of way (which is probably such an old sketch that these kids wouldn't even know the cultural reference). I know this because it is clear to me now that whereEVER I sit, Amine will come by when it's time to work independently on a problem and make sure that I am on the right track. He helps the kids who ask for it and he hovers a little over the group in the front row--but that trip to the back of the classroom yesterday? That's because that's where I was sitting.

And I am a little embarrassed, but mostly, I am profoundly grateful. Because I need the help and I need the "Good job!" and I need the unspoken, "I noticed you came to class today." And I don't know why he's taken an interest in me. I don't know if it's because the instructors are taught to help the "nontraditional" students not fall through the cracks or if it's because on his attendance list it says I was born in 1968 which, for all I know, is his birthday with the last two digits reversed, or if it's because on his attendance list it says I'm a math ed. major and maybe the math majors and the math ed. majors look out for each other. Or if it's just that I do try to answer his questions and participate enough in class that's it's probably not hard to see how my comprehension fades in and out like analog reception. I really. have. no. clue.

But I am worried that if he STOPS taking this interest, that I am doomed. Because right now when he comes by and whispers a hint, it is the hint I need to finish the rest of the problem on my own. And I want to be able to do that. To finish the problem on my own.

It is insanely trying to sit there, stumped, not by the limits or the theorem, but by the fact that for the life of me I can't figure out how to simplify this fraction with the square root symbol in the numerator so that I can get rid of the variable in the denominator so that it won't be a fraction with zero in the denominator (multiply the numerator and the denominator by the same square root expression).

I want desperately to spend time everyday on reviewing the rest of the algebra I've forgotten, but I CAN'T because of the other classes and the law office and the grammar project.

I go to the law office today and leave early because the day is slow and I have so much math homework. I get home, exhausted, and debate taking a nap first, but then Julie e-mails me from the office. I forgot to set up an important file before I left and they have to cancel the appointment with the client because of that. She reassures me that it's no big deal, the client is happy because it was a bad time for her anyway. Next week is better. But it doesn't help. I don't feel better.

I skip the nap and go straight into Calculus, hoping to drown my guilt in correct answers. It works pretty well actually, and half my homework is done before dinner time. I cook us something for dinner, although I can't remember what, and finish the Calculus. There's a quiz tomorrow, but I don't have time to do more than the homework. I put down the Calculus book and pick up the Linear Algebra book. I do all the Matrices homework, spending 40 minutes on a problem I can't solve. The rest of it goes smoothly though, and I finally decide to put problem #11 away and just ask Allan from Scranton about it in the morning.

I look at the EdPsych homework and realize I'm going to do it Saturday morning (it's due Saturday evening) before launching into the grammar assignment. I am still upset about the 8/10 on the most recent EdPsych quiz.

It's only 10 pm, but I can't think anymore. At least, not in a helpful way. I take 2 mg of lorazepam again and then stay awake for another hour, curled up against Chris--who is, improbably, out cold at this early hour of the night. I wish for once that my talkative, night-owl, husband would wake up and talk to me about something other than school. Or at least wake up enough to toss his arm over my shoulder and pull me in closer to him, but uncharacteristically, he sleeps on. The dog and I get back out of bed and I have a long talk with God about things. The dog gets tired of waiting for me and curls up next to my knees on the floor. Finally, I crawl back under the blankets and fall asleep.

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