Last night I dreamed I taught two classes. One was my class which was fine. The other was subbing the first day of a class in a subject I knew nothing about and for which I had no prep materials. Turns out it was a class in “Life” I walked into the room and was blinded by the light coming from the west windows. “Ah, this room,” I said.
I’d taught in that room before. It was harsh in the late afternoon.
The students were all waiting and were disappointed when I wasn’t “their” teacher, the one they’d signed up for. I explained it was just one day, that I’d do the usual take attendance, introduce the book and so on. I said I was sorry. Their prof was stuck at an airport somewhere.
“You don’t like our room?” asked the smart ass.
“It’s OK. Just a little shocking to walk into after the dark hallway.”
“So you bitch about it?”
“Look,” I said. “You’re not going to do that. We have things to do today, and we’re going to do them. You can save your smart ass comments for your real teacher, OK?”
“Fuck you,” he said.
I ejected him from my subjective reality, a technique I’d used many times in dealing with the multitudinous smart-asses of the world. There’s one in every group and it’s no coincidence. They are ubiquitous.
It was a class on what to expect from life. On top of the pile of papers I was to hand out was one shining gold paper with the word “God” on it in big, black letters.
Of course it was abysmal. I looked through the materials while they wrote a writing sample the prof had asked for. He/she had laid out a first day lecture (had he/she planned to be stuck at an airport?) and I went at it when the students were done writing, but it was gobbledygook. Finally, I summarized it. “Life arrives in stages, which, because of biology, correspond roughly with certain ages. From 1 to 3, we’re babies. At 3 we start being children. From 3 to 10 or so we are avidly learning about our world. Then, around 10 — 12 for most, younger for some — we move quickly toward biological maturity.”
“Yep. We’re in this nebulous hormone driven area until 23 or so when our brains are fully matured and we are ready to take our place as adults in society.”
The smart ass said, “Duh. And then what?”
“I’m not telling. You’re nearly there, all of you. I think it’s better if you don’t know.”
“We signed up for this class to learn about that!”
“I’m not your professor and it’s not my job. Besides, you can’t predict the future. As far as I’m concerned, all you have to do is look around at other people, older people, to see enough of the future. But, you won’t believe what you see. That’s human life, too.”
“What about you? What about your life?”
“Des Lebens labyrinthisch irren Lauf.” I said and grinned. “One fucked up wrong turn after another along life’s booby-trapped highway.”
“God, I don’t want to reach your age and be all bitter like you,” said the smart ass.
“I’m not bitter. Not at all, but it is how it is. Everyone. All right, I’ll tell you…”
And I woke up.