Friday, March 25, 2005


It looked like spring break was being kicked off to a horrible start, what with having to give a talk to my film class about threatened masculinity in Basic Instinct on Thursday and having to present my case to a university official about being kicked out of my Film & Literature class the next day. But, to my surprise, both of these things went incredibly well.

I'm sure at some point I've written about how terrified I am of speaking in front of people. My palms get sweaty, my heart races, it's impossible to form coherent thoughts -- and that happens just contemplating raising my hand in class. It's really, really annoying. It's even more annoying whenever a teacher is like, "You're all going to do presentations for some easy credit!" and my brain switches to freak-out mode and pretty much doesn't let up until a few hours after the actual presentation is over.

Well, this time it went relatively smoothly. I could still see my hands shaking as I tried to hold my notes still so I could read them, but I formed complete sentences and more or less related them to each other, so I consider myself the shit. The only method I've come up with to deal with the horrors of public speaking is to go up completely unprepared and explain what I know as if I was talking casually to a friend. It's pretty unprofessional, since I include my stupid jokes and odd phrasing, but it's more professional than vomiting or fainting, so I consider my audience lucky. Also, it probably helped a lot that Basic Instinct is one of my favoritest movies even though it's poisonously homophobic and misogynistic and I'm terrified of what someone might get from the film if they weren't watching it with a critical eye.

Today I met with some guy about getting my credit for Film & Literature back. Actually, this was way scarier than my Basic Instinct presentation. I was never sent to the principal's office back in school, but it was generally understood to be the scariest punishment conceivable. Having never experienced the reality of it, I could only imagine a door behind which lay intense adult disapproval and perhaps a fiery pit of some sort. Going in to contest my withdrawal from the course was kind of like that. Except now that I'm 22 instead of 12, my nightmare of what would happen when I entered that office was a bit more grown-up. Instead, I imagined a courtroom drama where I was clearly in the right, but a panel of mean old men were twisting my words and scoffing at my arguments like they did to Jodie Foster in Contact and she totally did go to outer space because there was eight hours of static, okay? Angela Bassett knows what I'm talking about.

Anyway, it was fucked up that I was withdrawn from that class but I was afraid the University of Aberdeen wouldn't see it that way because they were dumb enough to kick me out in the first place. But, like my other presentation, it went relatively smoothly. In fact, arguing my credit back was so easy that it seemed kind of a shame that all the cutting dialogue I had imagined in my fantasy version of the meeting went to waste. I was only in there for 10 minutes, but as it was finishing up I started blurting out random comebacks and excuses with no context at all. I just wanted to say them after planning them out so carefeully. As he closed the door behind me, I was screaming, "You can't just give it away like that! Come on, make me work for the money! Listen to me! I SHOULD BE EXPELLED FOR THIS!"

So, after a week of both these things weighing on my mind like a pair of anvils, it all turned out fine. Spring break has commenced and I'm heading down to England and then on to Germany in a matter of days. And I'll be reunited with Laura, whom I haven't seen in seven freakin' months! She's studying abroad in London for the quarter, and she's blogging it too. Check it, yo.


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