Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Godfather, Tigger, and Spiderman

It was just as I was getting the class into the 1990s that his phone went off.  This never happens in my classes, most especially to the brave souls who sit close up to the action in the front row of the auditorium class.

It's a boring buzz buzz ring, and its clear whose phone it is because he's stretching his leg out to pull his phone out of his pocket.

I ask "Is it your mom?" and he nods his head.

 I need to get the class back to domestic terrorism during the Clinton administration, but I can't let this moment go. I wait for  him to give me $20 for interrupting lecture and compulsively lecture him on ringtones. "You can do better than that, I know you can. No one has to have boring ringtones.  I have Usher singing YEAH YEAH. And one with cool bells from Harry Potter.  Right now I'm using the Godfather."

He shakes his head. 70 people behind him giggle, and I'm off topic for just a minute, but it's the end of the semester and they KNOW I'm going to pivot right back to lecture. But this is important.  He can do better as far as ring tones go.

 I ask the class if they knew that now you can set any song on your iPhone to be a ringtone or alarm. Several people nod happily.

I feel like I've performed ample public service for the moment and get back to explaining history.

And just as I'm deeply into the religious philosophy of the Branch Davidians I hear something strange but I keep going because these students do NOT know about the events at Waco, Texas and they're on the edge of their seats and I want to keep going but twitches on faces tell me they hear it too.

Where's it coming from? 

Finger, faces tell me it's coming from my bag at the front of the class.

It's playing the beginning tones from "Somebody that I used to know" (you know the song, just like you know Gangnam style, I'm not going to sing it here for you).

  I fumble for my cracked iPhone and turn the sound off.

The sound button shows the sound should already be off, so I turn the phone all the way off and spin on my heels, back to lecture.

A student asks, "Wait, were there PEOPLE in the compound when the ABT attacked?"

The music continues. I'm so distracted. It's the same song and now the guy is starting to sing "you can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness..." but my phone is off so I must be losing my mind.

There's the culprit, hiding under papers.

It's the super cool Samsung Galaxy I stole from my son.  I love this little tablet except it won't synch up to my Mac and download my iTunes. Every other device I've brought to the Mac has been different -- the Mac finds it, welcomes it, shares with it, and everyone is happy.  Now, with the Galaxy the Mac is acting like an old tired dog who is annoyed by a perky kitten.

I can't get the music to stop without logging on to the tablet with the long complex password I invented to keep my son from unilaterally reclaiming the tablet (fair is fair in love and war) and I fumble through it while the song keeps playing "But you treat me like a stranger and it feels so rough" and I realize I'm not getting the tricky password here and now with the tiny keys and I power the tablet off.

The song dies, I fist pump, the class cheers, and we head back to Waco, then to Oklahoma City and through the USS Cole before the end of lecture.

As the students file out I realize and remember there are no songs on my tablet, no alarms, no ringtones. I have no idea where or how that song came from or why the tablet just turned itself on and spontaneously started playing like a bad bad kitten waking you up at the wrong time.

The next class meeting, before lecture while the students are copying down key terms and asking questions about upcoming exams I stand away from the screen so I don't block their view. I'm wearing a long swishy dress with wedge heels and as I'm standing still at the front of the classroom I suddenly lose my balance like someone kicked my knees out from behind me and hit the rail of the whiteboard hard on my to falling flat on my butt in front of the class.

They stare in silence. I'm FINE I say as a throb tells me I'm going to have a big bruise on my back.  A nice guy whose family should be VERY proud of him springs up from the third row and climbs over chairs to offer his hand to help my up as I'm already getting. I shake off his offer and say "Help pregnant women up! I'm fine!" and off we go back into lecture.

After class I find myself holding my Tigger keychain and remembering I'm like him. Bouncy.  I go on Twitter and admit to the fall. I have to laugh about it or become the professor who falls down and acts like that's normal so get used to it.  A witty student writes back that she thinks maybe David Koresh did it.  I agree a little but admit it felt kinda like Oklahoma City and rub the bruises on my butt and arm.

In another class, while they were taking their exam, I slide up onto the window sill for a minute -- it's so hard for me to sit still, and I have to look everywhere for cheating.

 I know the students by name and quirk and handwriting by this point in the semester.

 No one in here would cheat on me, not a single one of these these respectful hardworking awesome students, but still. I have to keep looking.

 When I finish my surveillance from this angle and start to move to another one I lose my balance and fall awkwardly almost down on my ass again.

Instead of crashing I catch myself, spring up and whisper shout "I'm Spiderman!"  to the four students who saw it happen.

They shake their heads, giggle a little, and go back to their job of taking an exam by explaining the the pieces of the puzzle of American history.  And while they're writing I turn on my phone and tweet my triumphant Spiderman moment to the world.

After finishing the exam several students see the tweet and are annoyed they missed my fall.

I tell them it was fast and quiet and all that matters is I laughed and got back up again -- just like I want them to do.