Thursday, March 3, 2011

Much Worse Than A Brain Fart

I'm jokingly referred to as "The Absent Minded Professor" among my students and the faculty where I teach. I have a tendency to go off on tangents when teaching and have been known to focus so much on the more interesting aspects of the material that I completely forget about the less interesting stuff. What happened to me in class on Monday, however, veered far away from mere absentmindedness and swerved full on into a forgetfulness so astounding that I was convinced that I'd had my first "senior" moment.

I arrived to class on Monday to find a completely empty room. I found it odd, as usually there are a few students there when I arrive. I looked at the clock. It was just a little before 5pm. I organized my notes. At 5pm, there was still nobody there. Strange. By 5:15, I was starting to get concerned. I went downstairs, talked to one of the advisers, and asked if there was a day off or a field trip I was not aware of. I was told that there wasn't anything unusual going on and that the disappearance of my students did indeed seem strange.

I returned to my classroom and waited. By 5:30 I was in the middle of writing an angry missive to my students in the form of a carefully worded e-mail that would properly convey my bitter disappointment that they hadn't bothered to show up. I looked up from my e-mail at the clock. It was 5:45. I had to pick my daughter up from her grandmother's at 6pm. I felt odd, though. Class usually lasts two hours, but I felt like I had only been in class for an hour. Slowly, the wheels in my brain started to turn. I had gotten to class at about 5pm. It was now nearly an hour later. I teach a two hour class. I was missing an hour. Why was I missing an hour? It was then that I realized that my class starts at 4pm, not 5pm. I had shown up to class an hour late.

After picking my daughter up and arriving home, I called my mother to explain the situation. I was worried that I might have thrown a clot or had a minor cerebral hemorrhage or something. My mother, an RN and Professor of Nursing assured me that I was probably fine and just had a minor brain fart.

"No, Mom." I said, "A brain fart would be if I realized the situation ten minutes into it. What I had was the mental equivalent of shitting my pants!"

Thankfully, I arrived to class on time yesterday and found that my students had assumed that, due to the severe storm that hit the area Sunday night, they figured I didn't come in because of the excess flooding. No harm done, but, from now on, I'm setting an alarm every Monday and Wednesday before class.

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