Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jumbled assumptions

The last day of class was Monday (before last, as this has sat here progressing paragraphs at a time), so, despite having a take home final and a rather large paper due this upcoming Monday (no past; someone should have talked me into just revising this completely), I've been an almost total slacker.  I'm doing laundry as I type.  I've taken care of mommy things.  And I've stretched my wee budget to do some Xmas shopping.  But I've done none of the fiction writing I promised to do as soon as I was "free" of academics, nor the academics I should finish to be really free.  Maybe it's the guilt from scholarly procrastination that got me thinking of a class from last semester, and kid in it that I dubbed Mr. Whiner.

I'd blame his attitude on his youth, but since we attend a public, commuter university, the classes are a mix of old folks like me (and older by decades) returning for their degrees, and young, first time college students like him; he's the only one I've met with the attitude.  And it wasn't just the class (which he could have transfered out of in the early weeks, or withdrawn from for quite some time after) or the perfectly lovely teacher (again, it was one of those classes with a bazillion sections from early morning to late night because every student who enters below the grad level must take it, so he could have left if they didn't click)...In addition to ridiculously loud music, he filled my mornings with other complaints like how his dad wouldn't just sell the family business already since he was sick of working there on the weekends.

My edited response was, "You should appreciate what you have."  My inner voice said, "Get a grip, you little twerp!  Someday, when your dreams of being the next celebrity DJ fall through, you're going to be glad your parents worried more about your future than their own early retirement.  Enjoy getting into clubs you're otherwise too young for and the free tickets to more concerts than most folks with real jobs could ever afford; it'll only last so long.

I told you all that to tell you this: Mr. Whiner came to class one day more out of sorts than usual.  I don't remember if I asked or he just assumed I'd receive his venting.  He'd been on the commuter rail, making his way into the city, and dropped his pass.  By the time he realized it and went back, the pass was gone.  He'd been sitting near a black lady (no offense), and now he was out $100+...

Yeah, I was offended.  If I am to be drafted to represent "black ladies" everywhere (offensive in and of itself), how come we're the thieves?  Did she come from a special suburban ghetto and was commuting to her job as crack whore in the city?  (And who visits crack whores at 8am?)  Are all the white suburbanites magically immune to greed?

Never assume--it makes an Ass out of U, though it has relatively little to do with Me.

It's a side note, since he was already wrong without it, but at the start of the next class, he tried to sell his commuter rail pass.  The woman had indeed seen the pass left where he had been sitting, and tried to locate him to return it.  Like a modern romantic comedy, they must have just missed each other, but came so close to the meeting that would have changed the course of the story before it became tedious to its audience.

No, he did not apologize to me about his accusations toward her, which I would have accepted as the representative of black ladies everywhere.

The original plan, in keeping with this being a writing themed blog (as opposed to my free-for-all LiveJournal or the blog I should open for non-writerly things), was to write something witty about assumptions in fiction, and then turn that into a launch pad for why I love Kelley Armstrong's books...

But I came across Elif Shafak's "The Politics of Fiction" and thought that fit so well: