Monday, September 19, 2011

Denial


Two weeks ago I took the GRE.  I almost didn't.  I showed up 7am early on Wednesday morning outside my hometown's quietly hidden test center.  I walked in to find myself in the midst of a small crowd of unspoken stress.  One woman was off to the side, talking on the phone next to a girl half her age and majority her looks, staring blankly off into the distance.  I wisely conclude, "She's missing her test.  Poor girl."  Confident that I wouldn't make the same mistake, I strode over to the check in station and proudly handed my ID over saying, "Here to take the GRE."

That was when I was informed that the computer server was down and I could either wait to talk on the phone, like this woman right here, or take the little business card that was handed to me and call on my own time.  Subdued by this news I sat down and figured, "Well... I'm here.  Might as well wait."

Waiting, it turns out, was another poor judgment call.  Just FYI, in case any of you are considering taking a nationally ranked standardized test and your computer server goes down on test day, the customer service phone tree by law will not take more than one customer on one phone call.  Security reasons.  Go figure.

So, I went back home.  I got onto my own phone and then was on hold for an hour and a half.  I got through, rescheduled for two days later and that's how I found myself in the middle of downtown San Francisco in the back of a sky scraper building, coming face to face with something I've been denying for years.

I Do Not Read Directions

I hate admitting this because anyone who doesn't read directions, according to everyone around me from grade school up to my very first job in customer service, is an idiot.  And yet, anyone who works in Marketing and hears you bemoaning that "They didn't read the directions!" will say to you:  "Duh."

So, it goes both ways.  I feel bad about it but we're also told since day one of our lives in computer/advertisement-happy-land to split our attention focus, to multi-task, to scan rather than read, to be "efficient" in pulling out information from the deluge of materials that come our way every day in life.

I'm making excuses.

The point is, there I was sitting down to take my Graduate Record Examination and I found myself slipping, slipping, slipping away.  I don't mind being asked math puzzlers or being asked to answer questions about vocabulary.  I love algebra, calculus and geometry.   I love learning new things about the English language.

But, as I was sitting there, it became quite clear I had a problem that wasn't going to go away.  And the problem wasn't the test.

I'm Not Allowed to Talk About the What Was On the Test So I'll Talk About What It Was Like Taking It With a Fake Question Instead

So, I'm sitting there and it doesn't really matter what the question was about, so I'll just give you a rundown on the inner monologue I had while reading:

1960s....marine fossil records... I wonder what I should make for dinner tonight?  I do have that eggplant I've been meaning to dice up for a bit... and I still have some falafel mix left over but I don't think I should get into the habit of frying things that often--FOCUS BERYL--volcanic activity causing ruptures... marine biologists have come a long way in developing new strategies... I wonder what Rickey's making for dinner?  I should txt him when I get out of this test.  This test that I'm taking RIGHTNOWFOCUSBERYL... 


...


Fossils... fossil record... marine biology... you know, that girl was a marine biologist.  She was so cute...calling someone more than once when you don't hear back...that's ok right?  God, that is not ok.  I should let that one go. But, she did at least not hate being around me and Marine Fossil Records In Volcanic Ash Can Be Found Stirred Within The Ancient Sea BedsI wonder if I could trick her into liking me... or maybe she'd like me if she thought I was a science geek like her--like if I started to drop random latin-sounding words around her for animals that aren't native she might fall for it:  "There is the girafficus bigamous spotticus onnicus the bottomus..." 


Then again, knowing my luck, she'd be like "Actually, their name is giraffa camelopardalis" or something.  Ugh, stupid science girls who aren't stupid enough to fall forFOCUS BERYL I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL MAKE YOU RETAKE THIS TEST IF I HAVE TO.  


...


...


...


Marine fossil records in volcanic--Oh.  


It's A.  


Next question...

About four hours and thirty minutes later I was done.

-Beryl

WOO UPDATE:  Woo has a problem with her favorite puppy toy.  We at the Baker homestead are now very painfully aware that Woo sometimes believes her stuffed animal doppleganger is in fact a real dog. 

She will place it in her bed and if we're not careful a sick, sad cycle will begin in which she just starts to stare at her "buddy" waiting for it to do something, to move or at least play back.




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