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December 17, 1999: haven't had a dream in a long time


in media res

When the people ahead of me in line were done, I finally got to place my order. I ordered something, I can't remember what, some fast food-ish thing. And also four Beef Stroganoffs--or something like that.

I got my first thing I ordered, but not the rest, and then everyone was heading over to this other room, so I figured I'd go with and come back for the rest of my food.

The other room turned out to be a classroom. I sat at a desk at the far right of the room, the second row from the front. We sat around waiting for the instructor to show up. Finally I got up and went to get the rest of my food, and just then the instructor showed up, actually, it wasn't the instructor, but it was somebody else with authority, so I asked if it was ok for me to go get my food, and he said sure.

So I went back out to the other place and there were a couple of employees sitting around doing nothing and I looked at them and they looked back at me blankly and I finally said "where's my food?"

"Oh," said one of them, and without even having to check a monitor or anything started preparing the rest of what I ordered.

I could see he was only preparing two so I leaned over to look at my order and sure enough it said 4. So I said something to him about it and he said, "Oh, right, sorry." Then he read my mind and said "Are you sure you want FOUR of these? That's an awful lot."

"Well, I was feeling that hungry when I ordered, but now, not so much. How about we make it two of them, and a soda." Ok, so the soda wasn't really worth $8, but I didn't feel like screwing around at this point, because I was well aware of the "ticking clock" that I was supposed to be in the classroom.

Finally, I got my drink and decided I should check back in on the class and come back for the remaining food, so I went back to the classroom. I discovered that everyone else in the room was busy silently writing out an essay, it was an exam or something, I guess it was the final exam. How annoying. So I went and took my seat, and then looked around the room and determined that while I had paper to write on, I had no idea what the question was.

So I asked the instructor, who motioned for me to come up to the front, so I walked up, and we started talking quietly, and he described the question to me, but I don't remember it very well now, so he explained what he meant by it. I don't think I can capture the free-form almost-making sense aspect of it, but it was something about trying to generalizing so-and-so's critique. "Critique of what?" "Well, his writing can be understood as criticizing the methodology of really-famous-authors/philosophers X, Y, and Z." Somebody else in the class said, "So, the question is, can you interpret other people's writings as critical of what went before?"

It dawned on me that I had no clue what any of them were talking about. Apparently I hadn't done any of the reading for this class. Moreover, almost none of the concepts they were talking about were familiar to me.

I never did get my Beef Stroganoffs, either.

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attribution dammit: Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I want The Smiths