Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I gave an exam last week, and as usual, wrote my standard rule on the board: "All hats off or backwards." There are 150 students in the class, and my TA wasn't there to help me proctor - I wanted to see everyone's shining little face. So as I'm circling the class like a vulture, peering down aisles at backpacks, checking for phones, answering the stray question here and there, I pass a girl with her cap still facing forwards. Let's call her, what else, Hattie.
I tap her on the shoulder and pantomime turning her cap around. "Really!? You mean girls too??" Hattie says, horrified.
"Yes, I mean everybody" I reply.
"But I'll look stupid!" she says, pleading with me to let it go. I look around at the entire room bent over their little elbow desks, bubbling determinedly.
"No one will see you today. Turn your hat around or take it off." (Shit, I think to myself, even I wore plaid pants today, knowing nobody would be looking at me for more than a couple minutes before the test, while they desperately ran through their notes for one last minute.)
Hattie explains, "I wouldn't have worn a hat today if I'd known your rule applied to girls!"
"Really, no one is going to see you. Turn your hat around or take it off."
Finally, with a lot of melodramatic sighs, eye-rolls, and martyred shame, she sort of pushed her hat up about half way, turned it to the side so it scrunched up her hair in a weird way, and then held it there with one hand, askew, the whole rest of the exam, casting baleful glances at me periodically.
Up at the front of the room again, I appraised her subsequently way more "homeless trucker" style, when instead she could have taken it off and looked fine, or even turned backwards it might have looked sort of cute and tom-boyish, and I thought to myself, well, yes, now you do look stupid. Good show.